1 Court Square

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Privately owned public space and office skyscrapers are equally anomalous in Queens. Indeed, the landscaped public open space and pedestrian circulation space here are the only privately owned public spaces in the borough, and the green-tinted glass skyscraper that generated them is strikingly atypical in an area defined by low-rise structures. Once the developers of this tower rejected the conventional wisdom that skyscrapers should stay on the skyscraper side of the East River, it was hardly a stretch that they would Import a “tower in the park” design.

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

Formed by the convergence of Jackson Avenue and 44th Drive, the usable space is triangular in shape at the eastern end of the lot. Three stands of birch trees totaling roughly 75 trees struggle to establish a beachhead in this otherwise ill-defined spatial context. Numerous fixed green metal benches serve the lunch crowd as the four-sided antique-style clock keeps time. Part of the space is actually built on 1,537 square feet of City-owned street bed. Across Jackson Avenue to the southeast is a publicly owned public space, with ornamental fountain, polished granite ledges, and greensward, attached to the ornate state Supreme Court building. The design for that square manifestly takes its cue from the courthouse. The interesting question for the landscaped public open space here is whether it has taken its design cue from its host tower and surrounding neighborhood. Additional landscaped public open space and pedestrian circulation space front 44th Drive and 45th Avenue sides of the tower.


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