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The West Side’s airy Bella Abzug Park — currently being expanded up to W39th Street — opened its newest space (Block 4) between W36th and W37th Street to the public this weekend.
The Hudson Yards park, designed by landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc, features a new seating area of plentiful benches as well as wire-rimmed tables and chairs complete with umbrellas for shade — perfect for enjoying a pastry or sandwich from the new outpost of coffee shop and concession stand Paradis in the Park.
The team behind the West Side green space is known for its large-scale public plazas, including recent renovations on Brooklyn Bridge Park as well as the downtown Jacob K Javits Plaza. Bella Abzug (originally known as Hudson Park and boulevard) began renovations in 2010 at W33rd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues to expand the park to accommodate for the extension of the 7 train to 11th Avenue, as well as the rapid influx of residential, retail and commercial development in Hudson Yards over the past decade.
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The park was renamed in 2019 to honor Bella Abzug, the stalwart Bronx-born lawmaker and activist known as “Battling Bella” who championed civil rights, LGBTQ and women’s equality in New York State and nationwide. “As any observer of New York politics would tell you, Bella Abzug was a potent force for the West Side and, in fact, the entire country,” said former Manhattan Borough President and current City Council Member Gale Brewer at the dedication. “She was a friend and mentor, and naming this new park for her will, in however small a way, educate and inform future generations about this one-of-a-kind, larger-than-life New Yorker.”
The Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance — a West Side Business Improvement District not-for-profit organization — maintains the care of the park and curates its programming, which features seasonal events ranging from yoga to concerts to movie nights (the 1990s action-classic Jumanji plays this Thursday in Block Two of the park!).
The park also hosts frequent temporary art installations, including the BIG APPLE statue by Canadian artist Félix Marzel, King Nyani — a 4-and-a-half ton gorilla sculpture by Australian Artists Gillie and Marc Schattner, and the recent Photoville summer gallery showing.
The weekend’s opening marks the completion of the fourth block of the Bella Abzug renovation — further expansion is set to include plazas up to the Lincoln Tunnel entrance at W39th Street and the future development of the Port Authority bus terminal.
Just saw the movie “SOUL” there this week. Beautiful, comfortable, quaint space. After the somewhat overwhelming stores at Hudson Yards, The park gives you a chance to normalize and breath, I’ll be back.
How do you get into the park? I live on 42nd st. and 10th Ave.
Walk down 10th Avenue and turn right on W37th Street. It’s halfway between 10th and 11th, just after Manhattan Aquariums.
Bizarre to name a mega corporate-development park after Bella Abzug.
Next we’ll have luxury restaurants named after Cesar Chavez.
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