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Paley Park, New York City

4.5
#26 of 75 in Parks in New York City
Paley Park is a pocket park located at 3 East 53rd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenue 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 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 honey locust trees adds a degree of serenity to the park.

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."

Social interaction in the park was analyzed in the film The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces by William H. Whyte.
Paley Park served as the inspiration for a similarly sized urban park in Charleston, South Carolina, that opened in June 2015 and is known as Theodora Park.
Plan your visit to Paley Park and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our New York City online trip itinerary maker.
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Paley Park Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
67 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • This tiny park is curious and an absolute delight in the middle of all the skyscrapers and hustle and bustle. Come and sit awhile and enjoy watching the crowds. Very cute.  more »
  • It's difficult to describe the pleasure of relaxation here - where I can get coffee or breakfast from a kiosk, read a book, and feel the tension drain out of me as I smoke my mini-cigar. I have been.....  more »
Google
  • This happens to be a good hidden secret from the tourists that come and visit. The waterfall here offers an escape thats truly uncanny. This place is great if you want some respite from the hustle and bustle of the city but you are not trying to travel out of the way to go to an actual park. This place is a good source of inspiration if you write and meditating is awesome here, however you will still hear honks & cars every now and again.
  • A genuine albeit compact oasis in the middle of the East 50s. Fans of the musical ‘Company’ will recognize it as the park mentioned in the “Another Hundred People” sequence.

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