Paley Park is a pocket park located at 3 East 53rd Street in Midtown Manhattan on the former site of the Stork Club. Designed by the landscape architectural firm of Zion & Breen, it opened May 23, 1967. Paley Park is often cited as one of the finest urban spaces in the United States.
Measuring 4,200 square feet (390 m2), the park offers a quiet urban oasis in the midst of the bustling city by the careful use of falling water, airy trees, lightweight furniture and simple spatial organization.
Key to its success is a 20-foot (6.1 m) high waterfall spanning the entire back of the park. The waterfall creates a backdrop of grey noise to mask the sounds of the city. The park is surrounded by walls on three sides and is open to the street (with an ornamental gate) on the fourth side, facing the street. The walls are covered in ivy, and the overhead canopy formed by locust trees adds a degree of serenity to the park.
- This park is set aside in memory of Samuel Paley, 1875-1963, for the enjoyment of the public.
A wheelchair ramp is positioned on either side of the four steps that lead into the park which is elevated from the sidewalk level. The park displays a unique blend of synthetic materials, textures, colors and sounds. The wire mesh chairs and marble tables are light and don't detract from the surroundings. The ground pavement is not terrazzo or concrete but features rough-hewn stone tiles. The honey locust trees were planted at 12-foot (3.7 m) intervals. The green of the ivy-covered wall contrasts with colorful flowers, and the white waterfall, cascading at 1800 gallons per minute, creates a sound barrier to the noise from the street.
Paley Park is located one-and-a-half blocks from The Paley Center for Media, which was next door to the park (as the Museum of Broadcasting) before moving to its present location.
- Carroll, Maurice (September 20, 1967). "Paley Park: A Corner of Quiet Delights Amid City's Bustle; 53d St. Haven Has Something for Everyone". The New York Times. Retrieved June 30, 2010.
- Paley Park, GreatBuildings.com. Accessed October 8, 2007.
- Great Public Spaces: Paley Park, Project for Public Spaces Accessed October 8, 2007.
- The World's Best and Worst Parks, Project for Public Spaces, September 2004
Privately Owned Public Space: "The New York City Experience" by Jerold S. Kayden
Tate, Alan. "Great City Parks" Spon Press, London, (2001) ISBN 0-419-24420-4