Sitting Pretty: Beautiful and Unique Benches in New York City

Posted On Mon, June 23, 2014 By

Posted On Mon, June 23, 2014 By In Design, Manhattan

On an average workday in New York, over 3.9 million people crowd onto the tiny island of Manhattan. That’s a lot of behinds needing a seat, and the city provides plenty of those in the form of benches. But not all benches are created equal. There are gems hidden in every borough – beautiful, funky, unique slabs for you to sit on this summer.

Central Park Benches

Bench in Shakesphere's garden Manhattan Rustic wooden benches in the Shakespeare Garden. Image © BJWS 

Beautiful benches in Central Park? Who would have thought? The Shakespeare Garden is a magical little haven located on the west side of the park between 79th and 80th streets. The garden features plants and flowers mentioned in the bard’s plays, and if that weren’t quaint enough, the rustic wooden benches are straight out of a fairy tale—but lacking the singing birds and squirrels, of course.

Benches lining the Mall in Central Park. Image © Flickr user Ralph Hockens Benches lining the Mall in Central Park. Image © Flickr user Ralph Hockens

Another wooden beauty lines the Mall near the amphitheater. Its worn planks, antiquated flower decorations and ornate railings will take you back to the glorious early days of the park.

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The High Line Benches

Benches grow out of the pavement at the Highline. Image © Flickr user Kris Arnold Benches grow out of the pavement at the Highline. Image © Flickr user Kris Arnold

These “peel-up” benches rise out of the High Line in Chelsea, providing a modern-looking asymmetric design point for High Line walkers to sit and rest on. Like the rest of the High Line architecture, the benches combine nature with a concrete aesthetic, appearing as life growing out of the city’s stone and metal. In fact, fantastic examples of thoughtful seating design can be found all throughout the elevated park.

high line bench lounger, high line bench, high line lounger
Image © CasualCapture cc

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The Rolling Bench at Riverside Park

A small section of the 400-foot-long Rolling Bench.
A small section of the 400-foot-long Rolling Bench. Image © areay89

Incredibly, The Rolling Bench at Riverside Park is 400 feet of mosaic artwork you can sit on, once the largest public arts project in the United States. Unfortunately, the bench wraps around Grant’s Tomb, a stark contrast in tone to the general’s mausoleum that has led to calls to demolish The Rolling Bench. It was nearly destroyed in 1997, but the bench scraped by and can still be seen today.

Rolling Bench at Grant's Tomb, beautiful nyc benches, bench design, new york benches, modern bench design
Images by bigcitiesbrightlights

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Zipper Benches at Peter Minuit Plaza

wxy Zipper benches  A Zipper Bench in the Peter Minuit Plaza. Image © WXY Architecture

WXY Architecture designed the Zipper Benches at Peter Minuit Plaza, long metal structures with gentle curves and sitting space for dozens of people at once. The zipper benches are deployed in several different lengths and sizes throughout the plaza.

wxy Zipper benches

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Do you know of any others? Let us know in the comments where we can find them!

Lead image via Friends of the High Line

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Neighborhoods : Battery Park City,Chelsea,Midtown,Morningside Heights

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