Rosemary O’Brien is the author of the newly published book, Best Pocket Parks of NYC. Rosemary shares with Untapped Cities favorite park gems in three neighborhoods of Manhattan: Upper West Side, Midtown, and the Financial District. 

It all began in late 1964 when a group called The Park Association of New York City organized to support the formation of public green spaces or ‘vest pocket’ parks from small, unused, overgrown lots in New York City. Thomas P.F. Hoving, former Mayor John Lindsay’s future Parks Commissioner, jumped on the bandwagon and the practice of POPS (privately owned public space) had begun.


1. Paley Park

Paley Park in Midtown

A backlit waterfall, lush ivy on the walls and a variety of comfortable seating options. What’s not to love? In fact, Paley Park (pictured above), located on 53rd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues is listed as the Project for Public Space’s (PPS) list of the best parks in the world. William S. Paley, former Chairman of CBS, built this park and was involved in every aspect of its design. With 1800 gallons of water per minute cascading through its waterfall at the back of the space, you will find yourself transported to a place filled with peace thanks to the white noise of the waterfall that successfully drowns out the noise of the city beyond the entrance.