Monday, December 24, 2012

Park Chelsea's Age-Friendly Sidewalk Parks

“We did an inventory of our streets early on, and found that New York was largely a city without seats,” she said. “You’d see people perched on fire hydrants. That’s not exactly the mark of a world-class city. It’s not good for families. It’s not good for seniors. It’s not good for anyone.” - -Janette Sadik-Khan

 These photos show the state of public seating in the Chelsea of Yesterday
Seating on  on the High Line

Seniors  " care about benches, trees, gardens and open space closest to where they live. Big parks are for occasional visits in most cases.
  Creating an Age Friendly NY One Neighborhood at a Time 

As the people at Age-Friendly NYC found , seniors care most about seating closest to where they live. When you  have trouble walking seating on the  High Line could just as well be located in Pittsburgh, for all the good it will do. 

To help alleviate this problem Park Chelsea created its "A Seat Near Every Street" campaign to place "Sidewalk Parks"(aka Citybenches)  through out Chelsea in locations where seniors would actually have use of them.

In late December 2012 nine  Sidewalk Parks  were installed in Chelsea.

Park Chelsea Newest Sidewalk Parks
A Chelsea spot with a great garden is the Hampton Inn.The location had no seating to enable guests or neighbors to sit and enjoy the garden. 

A Citybench has been installed . Now both guests and Chelsea neighbors can enjoy the Hamptons Inn Sidewalk Park  24th St @ 6th Ave

The Desmond Tutu Center has this great garden, that's not open to the public

Tutu Center Sidewalk Park   10th @20th Street
A Citybench has now been installed  allowing  passerby to sit and really enjoy the spot rather then just having to walk by it.

 Limelight  6th @21st

The Limelight was a Church transformed into Discotheque transformed into shopping mall. The Limelight Sidewalk Park  has a great view of the Limeliight, And is a convenient rest stop for seniors shopping at the Trader Joes across the street.

The Clearview Sidewalk Park 23rd @8th Ave

The creation of a Sidewalk Park between the two gardens in front of the Clearview Cinema offers restful viewing of these great gardens by folks either waiting for the bus, or just passing by. For a movie schedule click here

Eyebench  21st near 11th Ave

Eyebeam is where "art Meets Technology" .

The Eyebench Sidewalk Park has recently been moved, from the curb to against the building, and Eyebeam  has recently been painted gold.  It's interesting that  the artists who painted Eyebeam included the Eyebench Sidewalk Park in their work.

9th Avenue& 23rd Street  Seniors Walking Trail Benches
We're developing walking trails for fitness  through Chelsea. These four  newly installed benches are an integral part of the 9th Avenue Senior walking trail

 Seen here is Merle Levine  who suggested that there should be a bench in front of the Fulton center at 119 9th Ave. This location is the where Chelsea's first Citybench was installed. For the Fulton centers Monthly Calender of Events click here.

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Sidewalk Park  9th Ave @24th Street 

Rita Lopez one of the founders of Park Chelsea chose this spot for a Sidewalk Park so that her friend Speros could sit while he waited for the 9th Ave bus to take him home. Now this bench is not only used while waiting for the bus, it , along with the Fulton Center Sidewalk Park, are helping to create a 9th Avenue Seniors Walking/Shopping Trail  allowing seniors to rest while on their way to the Fulton Senior Center or while going to shop at Western Beef/NSA Supermarkets.

Update:May 2013
Chelsea now has 12 Sidewalk Parks at 11 locations

 Maritime Sidewalk Park 

  At the NE corner of  16th St and 9th Ave is the Maritime Sidewalk Park. This Sidewalk Park has Wi-Fi, Seat Fi and given that it is adjacent to the 16st Greenstreets plot with trees but no plantings, we'd hope that some group sees the potential of it becoming    a Green-Fi Community Garden Hotspot. (Seating at this sidewalk park was removed when the green space was privatized)

The  Moonstruck Sidewalk Park at 9th Ave and 23rd streets is at an important seating  location for Chelsea seniors traveling to the Fulton Senior center.   Merle Levine who goes to the center regularly told us that while waiting for the 9th Ave bus to go to the center, there was no place for seniors  to sit at this bus stop.

 As  I walked past the new Moonstruck Sidewalk Park, I noticed an older woman walking in the opposite direction. I thought "here's a person that can use this bench" Sure enough she and her companion had a seat there.

PC Richard's Sidewalk Park on 23rd Street

New in June

This bench at the Muhlenberg Library increase the libraries seating capacity and offers an outdoor reading room to library patrons (moved to Crunch Gym)


Coming Soon: Sidewalk Park to "Far North Chelsea"

Thanks to the efforts of our  colleague Christine Berthet a resident of Chelsea's northern neighbor Hell's Kitchen. 8 Sidewalk Park locations have now (Jan 10) been approved for the area.. According to Christine:

Here is the list of proposed bench locations that will be recommended   at the next CB4 Transportation Committee ( Dec 19th)  You will note that there are no proposed bench on 9th Avenue or on side streets where the sidewalks are too narrow. Let us know if you have other suggestions or concerns  with the proposed locations.
  1. 601 10th Avenue
  2. 645 10th Avenue
  3. 657 10th Avenue
  4. 665 10th avenue
  5.  701 10th Avenue
  6.  735 10th Avenue
  7. 662 10th Avenue
  8. 646 10th Avenue
Shouldn’t our seniors be able to walk, then sit for FREE on our public sidewalks rather than having to pay in order to sit and rest? link

Posted: Apr 20, 2013 06:03 pm
We received wonderful pictures and note from Richard Kent Green:
“Attached and below, please find photos of the benches on 10th Ave, between 45th and 46th Streets, which, as you see, are constantly being enjoyed when the weather’s nice . There’s a serendipitous nature to the placement…one image004
is on the sidewalk in front of the Ryan Clinic, the other is in front of the Thriftway Pharmacy across the street. One can wait for a family member in the fresh air outside the clinic, then wait across the avenue, in the sun, for them to get their prescription filled at the drug store! (or the laundry is drying at the laundromat.”  read more

  Help Create an Age-Friendly Chelsea
 Seats on Our Streets

NYC is installing over 1000 Sidewalk Parks(aka Citybenches)  through the city. If you know of a good location for a bench you can request one here.