1 Lincoln Plaza
Located slightly east of Broadway on the north side of West 63rd Street, this plaza has received a modest facelift since the late 1980s that demonstrates how even small design changes can result in substantial improvements in usability and attractiveness. Previously, this large space was landscaped with white rocks, pebbles, dirt, and shrubs. If the well-meaning intent was evocation of a Japanese garden, the unfortunate effect was creation of a barren hardscrabble. Today, a luxurious carpet of verdant lawn has replaced the dirt and rocks, while an ornamental fountain, sculpted tree, and solitary stone recall the Japanese motif. In summer, this space, with its three old large-canopied trees, is a shady oasis from the heat of city streets. Seating on the grass is pleasant, although the space could benefit from more comfortable ledges. For example, the wooden retaining-wall ledge that separates the lawn from the rest of the plaza is too low, while the ledge on the perimeter at the public sidewalk is too narrow. Tables, chairs, and benches dotting the space between the lawn and the building, otherwise ideal for seating, appear to belong to the adjacent restaurant whose glass shed juts into the plaza space. No record of City approval has been found for the private use of these tables and chairs, and it is still to be determined how the glass shed occupied part of the space.
The full blockfront arcade on Broadway provides a protected route from inclement weather and becomes the northern leg of a two-block Broadway arcade system, along with 30 Lincoln Plaza from West 62nd to 64th Streets. A sliver of plaza is located on West 64th Street east of Broadway.