New York Film Locations

Best Pocket Parks of NYC

28 January 2014

This year, otsoNY plans to update the Location Maps and add two additional maps to include Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Central Park. One person who knows a lot about the various parks and public spaces in New York City is freelance writer Rosemary O’Brien, who has recently published a book called BEST Pocket Parks of NYC; a comprehensive guide for adventurous travellers which goes above and beyond the realms of mainstream guide books. This paperback takes the reader on a journey around Manhattan’s parks and public spaces that lend themselves to stopping and relaxing for a while before you go on with your day. BEST Pocket Parks of NYC is the first of several guides planned that will give the reader interesting information and history along with the location of pocket parks and public spaces in several U.S. cities as well as locations in Europe and is available from and CreateSpace, with an electronic version for the Kindle expected to be available in early February.

otsoNY caught up with Rosemary to ask her about the project. “I began looking into whether it would be a good idea for a book in January 2011 and began research online in the spring and then on foot during the summer,” explained Rosemary. “When I saw there were over 520 on the city's list, I started Googling the images and visiting them in person. I went into the city about twice per month, but had to limit it to good weather and had to work around my family's schedule to a degree. When I attended an entrepreneurship program for military family members in February of 2013, I realized I had not just one book, but an entire company of many books. I have since scaled the original idea down to the best pocket parks rather than all 230 that have seating and perhaps greenery and other aesthetic amenties such as art work or waterfalls. The sites I've chosen are in good settings with seating, greenery and something that makes it interesting or comfortable such as a waterfall or maybe sits father back from the street such as Greenacre Park or One East River Place.”

Asked why she decided to take on the project, Rosemary replied, “I began my work life as an actress in New York City. I attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, did summer stock and cruise ships, and always loved these little spaces even though they were not as cleaned up as many of them are now. I thought it was great how they just popped out as places to sit for a moment while I ran from audition to job to school. Even as I published novels and worked as a freelance writer, I thought they were something I should write about someday because I loved them. One book was what I intended, as I've said, but now I find there are a few cities throughout the country, in Canada and in the U.K. that are working to spruce up their green spaces and to create pocket parks for their communities. London has a pocket parks program going on where applicants receive grant money to make a pocket park out of land that currently sits and is a blight on the neighbourhood. So as you see, it's suddenly turned into a business.” Rosemary added, “My next project will be on the West Coast somewhere like LA or San Diego just so it's not so East Coast-centric. I'll fill in with other cities and London as I progress.”

(Rosemary O'Brien)

One of Rosemary’s favourite places is Worldwide Plaza. “If you enter from the Eighth Avenue entrance of the building, and following the entrance around to the back,” explains Rosemary. “You're treated to a spectacular space in the middle of all of those buildings. I also like One East River Place on East 72nd Street. I first discovered that over the summer, a beautiful time to find it, too. It's at the extreme East of 72nd, tucked in with a wrought iron gate in front and a waterfall in the back. If you head a little farther down, there is seating overlooking the FDR Drive and the East River. It's an amazing area that many New Yorkers don't notice if they don't go out and explore their city.”

(Worldwide Plaza)

During the early 1980s, Rosemary lived in Queens and for a short time in the village near to NYU. “I love New York City,” smiled Rosemary. “That is part of the reason I came up with this project. It allowed me a lot of time in the city while I did site visits and other research. Even staying in touch with the city online is worth the effort. It's the greatest city in the world, and I love to watch any films set in NYC. One of my favourites is ‘The Godfather’. It shows the NYC that was a bit rough back when I first started going there to see Broadway shows or to attend auditions. It's gotten much cleaner and a lot less seedy now, but I still love the scenes. ‘Moonstruck’ and ‘You've Got Mail’ are another two films that have wonderful scenes of two of my favourite areas of the city; Little Italy and UWS. I love going to the San Genaro Festival down in Little Italy whenever I can manage a trip there during that time. The Upper West Side is actually the area in which I hope to retire one day. It's near the park, Lincoln Center and just has a cool vibe in general.”

(East River Place)






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