Public space has taken Gotham by storm ever since 2009 when then-Mayor Bloomberg and others decided Times Square—also known as the Crossroads of the World—should be a lot easier to, well, cross. Since then, thoroughfares in the city have given way to chairs, plantings, music and places for people to just sit—and be.
Times Square: The beginning of the pedestrian takeover started here, as this area gradually closed to traffic. Giving way to walkers has made Times Square much friendlier for all in a hurry to get to their Broadway curtain. At the same time, just strolling and leisurely taking in the sites is now a lot easier.
Plaza 33 (W. 33rd Street btw Seventh & Eighth aves.) This reclaimed stretch of concrete brings new life to the Madison Square Garden area. A public amphitheater offers music, yoga and movie nights, lots of greenery and one of the Roy Lichtenstein Brushstroke Group sculptures, which turns what was a chaotic part of the city into an oasis. Grab a sandwich from a nearby eatery and people-watch above it all on the wooden bleachers.
Flatiron Plaza (Broadway btw W. 22nd & W. 24th sts.) Take a seat at this triangular pedestrian plaza for a great perspective on one of New York’s most inspiring triangles —the Flatiron building. Summer brings plenty of live music and other entertainment. And just next door is the beautifully renovated Madison Square Park.
St. Vincent’s Triangle Park (Seventh Ave., Greenwich Ave. & W. 12th St.) This planted plaza in the midst of Greenwich Village becomes home to the New York City AIDS Memorial later this summer. The 18-foot canopy structure in the shape of three triangles will feature text from a Walt Whitman poem engraved in granite and a water feature. Plenty of seating and greenery offer visitors a place to rest and reflect.
Louise Nevelson Plaza (William St. & Liberty St.) Be sure to pass by this gem on your way to boats to the Statue of Liberty. The plaza is home to Nevelson’s seven sculptures entitled “Shadows and Flags.” The glass benches give a moment’s rest and a look at these magnificent sculptures. Energy restored, you can continue your tour of Lower Manhattan.