Located in front of the hospital on the hilly east side of Tenth Avenue between West 58th and 59th Streets, this public open space, required by a special permit, divides itself into two park-like outdoor waiting rooms that are well suited for relatives and friends of patients. Surrounded by a metal fence and entered from the covered drop-off driveway next to the hospital that is part of the public space, the south waiting room is a park featuring lots of green benches scattered along loose stone paths amidst tiny mounds of ivy, grass, shrubs, and trees. With its sloping topography, the square park appears to undulate up and down as it climbs the hill. The designers came across an interesting obstruction not explicitly addressed by the zoning laws of public space: a gravesite. Given the nature of the host building’s primary use, a gravesite might not be the most appropriate image for waiting families. On May 3, 1995, the remains of James Henry Roosevelt were removed and reburied in a family crypt at the New York City Marble Cemetery. An austere granite monument now marks the spot.
The public open space to the north is a mirror-image park. At a recent site visit, its entrance gate was locked during hours it was required to be open. No record of City approval for such a lockout has been found. The rest of the space includes the wide stairwell, leading from Tenth Avenue to the hospital, its ridged metal handrails engineered to prevent young people from sliding on them. The huge, impressively arched covered driveway is also part of the public open space, and additional wood benches immediately outside the two parks are available for sitting.