The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design
Case Studies 

Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

*Nominee 

Central Park Sailboat Pond

New York

NY

USA

Contributed by 
Josh Kent
Project for Public Spaces
 on 
May 7, 2003
December 14, 2017

An outstanding water feature, and one of the main attractions in Central Park.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

The draw of the Sailboat Pond is more than just the chance to get your feet wet; it is the combination of elements that attract people and bring the place to life. The place is a huge attraction for families, school children, strollers, street performers, tourists, and birders looking for the resident red-tailed hawks. Kids climb the Alice in Wonderland statue and enjoy ice cream on sunny summer days, while adults relax by the cafe and take in the scene. The diversity of users makes this one of the most sociable places in New York.

Access & Linkages

The Sailboat Pond can be accessed from all sides. To this day I still get excited as I walk down one of the many paths leading towards it, always speeding up as I get closer. The Pond has vital linkages to other parts of Central Park, such as the nearby zoo, as well as to the museums, shops, and cafes on 5th Avenue and Madison. A visitor at the Pond also has an important physical access to the center point of the space _ the water. One can walk around the water, touch the water, and watch other people enjoy the water.

Comfort & Image

Water also gives the space a sense of comfort and serenity _ a calm oasis in the middle of the city. Adding to the place's sense of comfort are the numerous options for rest and relaxation -- benches facing the water, a sitting wall along the water, moveable seating around the caf_, and areas to find shade and sun.

Uses & Activities

The caf_ and food carts, the model sailboat rentals, the street performers, the statue climbing, and the people-watching all support the sociability and image of the place.

Sociability

The multitude of uses and activities draws not just model sailboat aficionados, but families, school children, snackers, strollers, street performers, tourists, New Yorkers, and birders looking for the resident red-tailed hawks. This diversity of people only makes the space better and leads to the enormous everyday sociability of the place.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

Central Park Sailboat Pond
Central Park Sailboat Pond
Central Park Sailboat Pond
Central Park Sailboat Pond
Central Park Sailboat Pond
Central Park Sailboat Pond
Central Park Sailboat Pond
Central Park Sailboat Pond

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

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The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design