Times Story Details Every Way to Describe That Thing You Sit on

Is it a park bench or 'that most prosaic of public furnishings'?


New Yorkers enjoy the "slender wooden benches" at the High Line.

What are you sitting on today? If your first thought is “a chair,” you may not be cut out for The New York Times. Make it a “fanciful” chair and we’ll talk.

In a recent piece about New York’s whimsical new approach to designing park benches, The Times managed to round up a handful of quirky descriptors just as unusual as the benches themselves.

“There are wooden chaises roomy enough for two,” the article begins. “Bar-stool-style perches with river views. … Huge granite slabs. Even hammocks.”

According to The Times, park benches are the new black, and landscape architects, designers and artists are coming up with novel designs that put those blocky wooden monstrosities in the subway to shame. The paper surveyed a number of New Yorkers enjoying the innovative seating offerings at the Hudson River Park, the High Line, and Riverside Park South, among others.

But the real story here is how many cool descriptors The Times found to evoke a chair without actually saying “chair.”

Same of our favorites: the “curvaceous chaise longues made from molded fiberglass” in Riverside Park South; “slender wooden benches that seem to emerge organically” from the stone paving of the High Line; and a “double-sided bench of sorts, with undulating surfaces that evoke a bird’s nest, a crown and nautical netting” in Hudson River Park.

We never knew the benches of New York City could inspire such lyricism!

'We need to get away from this whole notion that you must sit upright and face this direction. That is so old school.'