200 West 60th Street

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This pleasant, sunny public open space, at the back of the residential building on the north side of West 59th Street slightly west of Amsterdam Avenue, successfully combines active children’s and passive adult recreation space. Removed from the street by its elevation up eight steps and past a gate that was deceptively closed, but not locked, at a recent site visit, the rectangular area is something of a refuge for adults and children alike. The portion closest to the entrance is for adults, with its small lawn, wood benches, trees, and perimeter planters. Moving west is an attraction for both children and adults, a ground-level, blue-colored fountain that is so approachable that it is taken over by children. Further west, the space finally gives in fully to children, with a two-tower play unit fixed on artificial turf. An elevated terrace with bench to the south and additional benches to the west supply ideal vantage points for watchful parents and caregivers.

Photo: Kayden et al. (2000)
Photo: Kayden et al. (2000)

Small spaces like this one are enormously valuable to a neighborhood. Elevated and fenced, yet not too remote to engender any sense of isolation, parents and caregivers can give their charges a degree of freedom that makes both child and adult happy. This public open space and the one at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, visible to the southeast across Tenth Avenue, were required at the same time by related City Planning Commission special permits

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