leisure 07.5.05

The Forgotten Park

Closed for renovations. That's New York code for 'we're outta here.' When Canal Park, the small triangle between Canal Street and the West Side Highway, was closed in 1921 to build the Holland Tunnel, the deal was that the city would loan the area to the NY and NJ Bridge and Tunnel Authorities for the construction period and that it would be restored by those entities within four years. Right.

Originally, the area was a wetland. Individuals were given rights to the land on the condition that it be drained, and for a period, it was known as Lispenard's Meadow. It became one of the first city public squares in 1807 and was the site of the Clinton Country Market until 1860. In 1871, it became a park of sorts — green space with no access, surrounded by the city's Flower Market. Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons, Jr. created the distinctive design for an open, if tiny, park in 1888, and it remained a popular refuge until its 'temporary' demise 33 years later.

It was essentially a forgotten park until local residents unearthed its history several years ago and formed the Canal Park Conservancy. The new park, which is scheduled to open shortly, will have numerous features of the Vaux and Parsons design. (Here's a PDF of the plan.)

At a time when every public works project in the city is a pitched battle, the Canal Park Conservancy and the Friends of the Highline have been tenacious forces for good. Hats off to them.

5 List: New Bars
Ace of Clubs
King Size
Kitchen & Cocktails
Maya Lounge
Opus 22

WhizAlert
A reader alerted us to the nifty website WhizAlert. He says, "It sends you email alerts from postings on craigslist. I was looking for tickets to the US Open and it sent me an email when someone posted tickets. It was better than having to spend the whole day on craigslist searching for tickets."

Brilliant Corners
Another cool website, this one for jazz fans: Brilliant Corners, a jazz map of downtown NYC.


times square

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