It was Thursday and I had just landed my dream internship in New York City. I ran around Manhattan in highly uncomfortable heels calling all my loved ones. That tired me pretty quickly so I Google mapped the nearest Starbucks where I spent $4 on coffee and 20 minutes waiting for a table. I was in my favorite city in the world with a summer job in my pocket, but I had nowhere to go. Tired and in between couches, I was forced to weigh my options. I could stay in Starbucks or I could go to the High Line a few blocks away and lie on their reclined benches.
Quickly I scratched both ideas and got onto the next metro heading uptown. The 6 spat me out on 51st and Lexington. I walked a couple of blocks and said hello to the architecturally renowned Seagram building before hitting 53rd Street where I took a hard left to my destination. There it was, my favorite place in my favorite city, Paley Park.
Walking into the park and out of the city, I couldn’t help but buy another coffee. The Paley Park Café sports a $2.50 coffee and pastry - a deal I could not refuse. I sat down and suddenly every worry I had ever had fell from my shoulders and into the white noise of the park’s waterfall. The park re-energized and calmed me all at once.
Now what makes Paley so great? To start, tourists and urbanites use it in coexistence. Simply watch the entry to the park - tourists will stop to take pictures and businessman in a hurry will throw a side glance the park’s way. But when you enter the park, oh is it amazing. You enter a serene space, a calm space. People sit, people talk, they relax. The noise of the water falling fills the park with a beautiful hum drowning out the typical tunes of the city. It’s not a green refuge, it doesn’t try to hide Manhattan from you, but it IS the one place in the city where calm and heavy urbanism coexist in the same space.
I love Paley Park.