Checking Google Maps to remind myself where Greenacre Park was in preparation for my recent visit there, I noticed a tiny sliver of green all the way to the east, hugging the FDR Drive between 53rd and 54th Streets. Couldn't be a park, I thought. But I zoomed in, and sure enough:
Sutton Place Park is indeed tiny, but it's a park all right.
Complete with landscaping, a curved path, plants and flowers, and locals relaxing and walking dogs, Sutton Place Park (or Sutton Place Park South, to distinguish it from Sutton Place's enclosed vest-pocket parks) is dedicated to landscape architect Clara Coffey (1894–1982), who became the Parks Department's Chief of Tree Plantings in 1936.
Coffey supervised numerous landscaping projects, including the Park Avenue Malls. At the base of a handsome urn decorated with Greek-style reliefs in a small garden (a onetime sandbox) in Sutton Place Park, a stone plaque commemorates her work.
There's even an armillary sundial (or armillary sphere), like the one on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade but more ornate. Albert Stewart designed it, inspired by Ancient Greek astronomical models.
Look out over the East River and you'll see Roosevelt Island's Smallpox Memorial Hospital, which is just north of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park at the southern tip of that island, and beyond it the now landmarked Pepsi sign just north of Gantry Plaza State Park, where a landing just opened for the newest NYC Ferry line, the Astoria Route.
Everywhere you look in New York City, there's a park. And another park beyond that one. And another one beyond that.
All photos © Jon Sobel, Critical Lens Media