The Unbearable Banishment: how to relax on a busy New York City street

Friday, April 24, 2009

how to relax on a busy New York City street

A fun new idea dreamed up by city planners this summer is to close off sections of main thoroughfares in Manhattan, lay a new surface over the asphalt, set up tables and chairs and create a lovely public space. They place big concrete planters around the perimeter of the area to protect you from potential out of control taxi cabs.

There are sections of Broadway blocked off where you can sit, relax and have coffee or read a book while cabs and buses whizz by just a few feet away going 35+ miles per hour. It’s a crazy idea but it works!

This is my absolute favorite spot. It’s just north of the Flatiron Building in Chelsea. The Flatiron is one of the most beautiful and majestic buildings in Manhattan. When it opened, an architectural critic called it a great battleship steaming up Broadway. Sitting in the sun at its bow and watching all of New York pass by is a very fine way to spend an afternoon. God, I wish I was unemployed again!

Click on that pic for a better view.

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10 Comments:

Blogger kyknoord said...

Where do they mount the guns?

April 24, 2009 at 2:43 PM  
OpenID daisyfae said...

i know exactly dick about architecture, but i have ALWAYS loved the flatiron, and other 'triangular' buildings in any city i visit... gotta get to NYC this summer...

April 24, 2009 at 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

But, the thing about tall buildings (skyscrapers, if you will) is that they tend to funnel and intensify wind at ground level. Doesn't it get windy there?

Or do you need the wind to counteract the heat and humidity?

@kyk: Snipers are behind the 7th story windows. Always.

April 24, 2009 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

K: Guns? In New York City? I don't think so.

Daisy: The beauty of art/ architecture is that you don't have to "know" anything about it to enjoy it.

Rob: The breeze is nice. It blows away the exhaust and stink swirling around you.

April 24, 2009 at 10:41 PM  
OpenID anniegirl1138 said...

It is an inspiring view. What a cool idea.

April 24, 2009 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Bastard said...

An unusal design of building which is very easy on the eye.

The seating area is great, very European and comes with the addtion of a warm sun.

I'm envious already.

April 25, 2009 at 3:26 AM  
Blogger Ellie said...

My Man is a New Yorker. He loves this building. He calls it 'his building'. I think New Yorkers (at least this one I live with) have a sense of ownership over their city. (He also calls it 'my city'.)

London isn't anyone's property that way. Once you're here a couple of years, you can call yourself a Londoner no problems.

April 25, 2009 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Annie: At first I thought it was a recipe for disaster—sitting that close to traffic seemed foolhardy— but it turned out to be a pretty great idea.

Jimmy: I didn’t see it from that angle, but you’re right. It does seem a bit like a piazza in Italy.

Ellie: You can call New York your own after a fairly short period of time as well. My daughter refers to it as “Daddy’s City.” She’s got that right.

April 25, 2009 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger mapstew said...

What a wonderful idea. A perfect oasis.

April 25, 2009 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Let's Kill Saturday Night said...

That is my favourite building in the world. I couldn't find it the first time I went to New York and really went looking for it the second time. I was just about to give up and then I turned around and there it was. Amazing.

April 26, 2009 at 8:26 PM  

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