Paley Park is a pocket park located at 3 East 53rd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on the former site of the Stork Club. Designed by the landscape architectural firm of Zion Breen Richardson Associates, 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 contains airy trees, lightweight furniture and simple spatial organization. A 20-foot (6.1 m) high waterfall, with a capacity of 1,800 US gallons (6,800 l) per minute, spans 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 an overhead canopy is formed by honey locust trees.
A privately owned public space, Paley Park was financed by the William S. Paley Foundation and was named by Paley for his father, Samuel Paley. A plaque near the entrance reads: "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, while the ground surfaces are rough-hewn granite pavers which extend across the sidewalk to the street curb. The honey locust trees were planted at 12-foot (3.7 m) intervals. The green of the ivy-covered side walls ("vertical lawns") contrast with colorful flowers.
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)
- 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 Archived 2006-09-07 at the Wayback Machine, Project for Public Spaces. Accessed October 8, 2007.
- The World's Best and Worst Parks Archived 2007-02-07 at the Wayback Machine, Project for Public Spaces, September 2004
- Paley Park, The Cultural Landscape Foundation
- "Whitney Museum Wins Bard Prize; Paley Park and Ford Fund Building Also Honored". The New York Times. April 26, 1968. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
- "Awards" (PDF). Architectural Forum. 128: 97–98 (PDF 89–90). May 1968.
- Kayden, Jerold S. (2000). Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780471362579.
- Tate, Alan (2001). Great City Parks. London: Spon Press. ISBN 0-419-24420-4.