Why are there so many small parks all over the city?

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February 8, 2014 by elainelorent

Have you ever noticed that all over the city there are many really small and tiny, sometime well hidden, parks, with a bunch of trees or natural things and some bench to sit on? According to the website http://www.nycgovparks.org/, there are more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities across the five boroughs. This is even sometimes weirder when you realized that some of them are standing in financial area such as Wall Street.

Back in 2012, I was an intern in the financial district for the all summer. By the way, the company name was “the new stage theater”. If you got the chance to be in the city when they’re having a play, you must go. It’s a Hungarian theater. Their performances transgress the usual plays you can see in Broadway.  But it’s not my point in this article. When I was working there, my usual lunchtime was always to go sit on a park and eat. It was really relaxing, and after a month, almost a daily ritual. The best I’ve ever seen though was one located on the roof of a building. Which is kind of atypical. But unfortunately, I can’t find out the name of it. If anyone can help me on this, I’d be more than glad to heard that name again.

So according to my personal experience, my guess was firstly that people in New York were so concentrated in some areas that they needed a place to get some fresh air, to refresh and disconnect their mind from a continuous hard work. Also, parks must play a good part in the productivity of employees afterward. I’m pretty sure that parks hold a key role on that.

This could either work for a job or when people are at home. Indeed, apartments are usually really small (as well as expensive, but that’s an other point). So people need to get out. And believe it or not, it was almost vital for me to have some contact with nature in an area surrounded by huge skyscrapers and thousand of people! I’m coming from a place where I had right behind my yard a gigantic forest that was pulling a lot of fresh air. So even though these parks were full most of the time, it was a way to escape this overcrowded city and find a little bite of peace.

Here’s a useful list (made partly by The New York Times) of few “little-know parks”:

  • Greenacre Park (East 51st Street between Second and Third Avenues, north side)

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  • Paley Park (East 53rd Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues, north side)

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  • Sony Plaza (East 55th to East 56th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues)

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  • Sutton Place Park (end of East 57th Street (and other streets)

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