The Space Between Us: Part 2

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fred Kent, founder and president of the Project for Public Spaces, assesses listeners' favorite and least favorite public spaces in the city.


Fred Kent

Comments [20]

RS from New York

Jones Beach is being Trumpisized. The old Boardwalk Restaurant is being replaced by a 4 story catering hall ($200-$300 per plate), a
lounge, and, oh yes, a seasonal restaurant for the "middle class" (who can't afford the catering hall). Catering hall users will pay no parking fees, there will be very large Trump signs on the parkway approaching the beach, and the pedestrian underpass from field four will be used by valet parking golf carts. Trump will pay no taxes for the Wantagh schools and fire department and has elected to make no Payments in Lieu of Taxes. Harvey Levinson, Nassau Cty assessor leads the fight against this building.

Oct. 29 2007 10:24 AM
Jerome Barth from Midtown

I have to disagree with Mr. Kent on his appreciation of the 3 parks he mentionned. Both Union and Washington Square Park skew towards the young and students. Families and older people feel less welcome there than they would be in Bryant, even though there is little residential about Bryant. Not everyone wants to be exposed to all the brouhaha mentionned by Mr. Kent, or at least not all the time.
As far as spaces I enjoy, Prospect park has enormous potential, even though it is quite dirty and not too well maintained. Teardrop park is a hidden gem, perfect on very hot summer days.

Oct. 23 2007 09:44 AM
Lisa from NJ

Hamilton Park on Boulevard East in Weehawken for the best NYC views

Oct. 19 2007 11:43 AM
Emily H. from Manhattan

You know, you can go wandering in a forest on Manhattan, too. Inwood Hill Park is a much underused and overlooked beautiful space right in our backyard.

Oct. 19 2007 11:43 AM
Anne from Times Square

I live in Rockville Centre - a sweet town on the south shore of Nassau County. We have sidewalks and a real little town with coffee shops and other places where people gather.

And we have Hempstead State Park that is around a huge lake in Rockville Centre. Sitting by the lake, I sometimes feel like I'm hiking the Catskills.

Oct. 19 2007 11:40 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Edgewater, New Jersey has lovely places to walk along the river.

Oct. 19 2007 11:40 AM
Shannon from Brooklyn

I have to disagree with both the recent caller and guest's assertions that the Brooklyn Museum's entrance does not function well as a public space. I witness activity in this area every day as I enter and exit the 2/3 stop at the museum, and I do believe it serves as a modern day piazza. In the summer, especially, throngs of people gather on weekends and weekday evenings at the fountain and Mister Softee truck parked at Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue.
I love how the 19th century building is disrupted with the modern entrance, it seems very Veturi-inspired to me.
Perhaps if there were more traffic-calming measures in the area (AHEM, DOT...), there would be even more users.

Oct. 19 2007 11:38 AM
Anne from Times Square

One of my least favorite public spaces is Times Square. My office is on 41st and Broadway and it's always total madness with too many cars, bikes, tourists and frustrated commuters. It's so crazy that commuters walk in the bike lane. That's too dangerous!

Could this ever be fixed? Commuter walking lanes on the sidewalk?

Oct. 19 2007 11:25 AM
Mary P from downtown

Zucotti Park is a tiny gem. I eat lunch there, thanks to the vendors (mmm Sam's felafel!) shop at the tiniest greenmarket in the city but still get my heirloom tomatoes. We still hear all the giant construction projects (WTC, Fulton hub, D-Bank demo, W hotel) but the trees and peopleand food make one realize it is still a neighborhood- not just a site for jackhammers.

Oct. 19 2007 11:23 AM
Barbara Marco from Union Square

I live around union square and so many people have put in effort to make the park a usable space since it's days as a junkie heaven.
However, I am all for diversity and a bit of chaos, but I have spent time in the part lately and the rat population has exploded to the point where there are literally DOZENS running around under your feet (not one or two), there are many homeless people (one defecated and urininated right on the bench next to a friend and I the other night)
It is not going in a positive direction. Even
the police have told our building they do not have enough police to cover the park and they told us the one remedy is to fence the park in at night and close it. Is there no other way?
I hated Guilliani, but the Park was a lot cleaner and more pleasant then.
What can be done?

Oct. 19 2007 11:22 AM
Katya from Newark, NJ

I've always found NY to miss out on all the public spaces that abound in Europe where people can really congregate without a loud and persistent flow of traffic surrounding the public space. In NY, most "squares" feel like a small patch to land on as you move somewhere else rather than a relaxing space to get together. Washington Sq park (thankfully) avoids this problem, whereas Union Sq is the epitome of it (This is what Times Square would be if the tiny concrete triangle in the middle of the traffic were bigger and had trees). Unfortunately, in NY, going to "squares" is more associated with dodging traffic to get to them. How good it is then, that the NY park system compensates (Riverside, Prospect - my favorite public space of all, Central, Hudson River, etc).

Oct. 19 2007 11:21 AM
Ron from Bronx

One of my favorite places is Tompkin Square Park...the trees are fabulous, the shade is great, there is a dog run, the folks are local (lower-east-side-colorful), it's great space!

Oct. 19 2007 11:21 AM
Linus Gelber from Brooklyn Heights

I live near Cobble Hill park, a small enclave on Clinton Street below Atlantic - over the years I've pretty much stopped making the trip to Central and Prospect Parks except for events, and I've really come to appreciate our little corner of things. I'm not sure why the park works so well - it's small, set in three zones. Up in front you sit on the benches or the round tables. In the middle it's a little greener, and in the back there's a playground. There are hardly any events; it's just an easy and welcoming place to spend some time.

Oct. 19 2007 11:19 AM
eliza from brooklyn

could you talk about Governor's Island? I once participated in an art event there that allowed us to camp out in a tent on a great lawn there. The view of lower Manhattan, lighting up at dusk and then looming on the horizon at dawn was just amazing and very unique. I know there have been many different proposals for this amazing island, but I don't know what's going on with this space lately.

Oct. 19 2007 11:18 AM
Cora from NY

While I was listening to this segment, I was struck by a quote "Diversity that remind us of the dimensio of normality" (hope it is correct). I have an idea, could you gather all the beautiful quotes that come up in the course of your interviews and post them with the right attributions? I think this would enhance the pleasure, not to mentione the litteraty expression of those who listen to your program and not in the least make them feel smart if they use those quotes in any other conversations.

Thank you,

Oct. 19 2007 11:18 AM
PJ from nyc

Why is the landscaping in Columbus Circle so pathetic? It's unimaginative in the first place, and it's usually half dead. When you look out on the circle from the Time Warner Center, the view is terrible because of the poor landscaping within the circle itself. Can't Dick Parsons do anything about this?

Oct. 19 2007 11:17 AM

What about Tompkins Sq Park and the LES community gardens?

Oct. 19 2007 11:17 AM
Nancy from manhattan

Although it's 'artifical', the new Columbus Circle is wonderful! Walking through there feels like a vacation itself with all of those fountains going. It's great to eat lunch on one of those benches, too. Huge improvement on what it used to be.

Oct. 19 2007 11:16 AM
Matthew Miles from Mid town

Paley Park was heralded as one of the finest examples of a "pocket park" many years ago, does it still live up to its reputation?

The impact of that concept seems to have sparked a similar type of vestigal park or gardens space that occassionally grown on empty lots. Can you comment on this phenomenon?

Oct. 19 2007 11:16 AM
daniel from Midwood

What about the Parade Grounds next to Prospect Park? I am new to that area and I don't know too much about it. How open is it to non-organized activities?

Oct. 19 2007 11:15 AM

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