by Wendy Giman, 12/18/2013
Photo: Will Steacy
51st Street, between Second and Third Avenues (north side), Midtown East, Manhattan
Tucked between two buildings on an ordinary Midtown block sits Greenacre Park, a pocket of serenity and urban solitude. Privately financed in the 1970s when the major parks struggled with safety and maintenance, Greenacre offers a visual and auditory escape from Midtown's bustle. Enter under a wooden trellis and toward an impressive 25-foot waterfall nestled among greenery. Along the entire east side, starting at the entranceway, is a multifaceted stone wall with water glistening down and feeding a petite water pool at the entrance. While the park is popular with local office workers, the space somehow never feels crowded thanks to a tiered design that offers a variety of experiences: tables closest to the waterfall feel like a private island, while the upper-level seating has heat lamps in the winter and more-subdued water sound effects.