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Paterno Trivium

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Landscaped honorific triangular greenspace

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Gathering Place

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Meg Gibson

Three streets come together in my neighborhood of Hudson Heights. For years it was just asphalt, trash, and a bent stop sign. Then, a neighborhood architect, Tom Navin, designed this beautiful oasis of trees, with seasonal flowers, large standing pots and a beautiful bench. The Hudson River and its reach to the Palisades is a block to the West. It’s a magical place now where many people gather throughout the day, to meet, to sip coffee, to play music, to rest and view the sunset. Jane Jacobs would be so pleased.

Mr. Navin did such a fine design with the Paterno Trivium. It’s perfectly sighted, with flowers and trees to view to the east, or the river to the West. The curved bench brings people together with ease or be separate on either end enjoying privacy. It’s also enamel so it stands up to weathering.

If it disappeared our oasis in the middle of our busiest intersection would be gone. The slowing down of traffic for the many pedestrians on this block would end. Having it has made us more of a community. We also have less fumes because cars don’t speed or sit there and idle.

What our urban planners know instinctually is that we need to keep growing our urban ecology by adding green with places to sit, a way to connect without cars on our streets. Small plazas for we humans. The Paterno Trivium pays tribute to Mr. Paterno, who was a developer in northern Manhattan. History is with us today. When I sit on the bench I can imagine whole periods of history in Manhattan, New Jersey, and on the Hudson.

I would miss that perspective if the Trivium were gone. I would miss the spot where I can stop to talk safely to a friend and her children as we go about our daily lives.

Mr. Navin created an endowment so the neighborhood to contribute to the Trivium. If that stopped I don’t know if the city would maintain it.

(added April 2020)


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