Private & Public: Paley Park

Peaceful Paley Park

After an espresso with Marcus, I head to Paley Park, perhaps my most favorite place in NYC.  I love Paley Park because it’s like a well-known secret, people know it’s there but sometimes forget or maybe it’s that when you’re there, the rest of the world is out.   A small belgian block square nestled in between two gray skyscrapers on E 53rd, Paley Park is the perfect place to sit alone with your thoughts.  When I enter the space, I feel an automatic sense of relief – facing a 20 foot cascading waterwall seems to wash away every worry.  A sparrow greets me at the step and ushers me to a free chair.  He sits across from me for a minute waiting to be fed, but when he realizes I don’t have any bread, he flutters through the honey locust trees onto a white marble bistro table inviting himself to someone’s lunch.  Dressed mostly in black with some gray and black striped socks, a leather jacket, and a nose ring chain connecting to her ear, this girl does not look ready to share – but she does, tossing him a crumb.  Most of the chairs are taken, some visitors are sitting on the low sitting walls, but the park still feels empty to me.  I can’t hear anyone.  I just see people in conversation and chatting on their cell phones, their mouths moving, but the words drowning in the water.  I’ll stay a few minutes, I think to myself, pulling up an airy white wired bucket chair.  With my back to the street, the traffic is practically non-existent, but I hear a muffled siren pass by.  I look up through the mottled canopy and see a cloudy sky, ivy climbing up the walls – everything black, white, and gray with familiar pops of  yellow mums in low concrete bowls.  Paley Park doesn’t seem to change – it’s like the sewn-in handkerchief in a suit jacket – it’s there permanently for a geometric touch of color.  It has an air of both playfulness and serious sophistication.  After an hour of watching the waterwall, I decide it’s time to leave.  Stepping down onto the sidewalk, the sun peaks out, yellow taxis clamor by, and I feel aglow and put my sunglasses back on.

By Michelina Docimo

Image from:


  1. Verlaciudad » Intervenciones medianeras - October 18, 2011

    [...] muy buena descripción personal aquí. Buscando este parque me encontré con muchos parques medianeros, como éste aunque no habían [...]

  2. verlaciudad » Intervenciones medianeras - November 4, 2011

    [...] Una muy buena descripción personal aquí. [...]

Leave a Reply