Winner: Cahuenga Peak, Los Angeles, Calif.
What would the famous H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D sign be if it was set beside a couple of big mansions, rather than untouched Santa Monica Mountains? Fortunately, we won't know the answer from experience, since a very public Trust for Public Land campaign to prevent development on 138 acres behind and beside the "H" successfully saved the view in 2010. Cahuenga Peak has been added to 4,100-acre Griffith Park.
Learn all about the 2011 Best New Park winner!
People's Choice: Railroad Park, Birmingham, Ala.
Decades in the planning, 10 years in the making, Railroad Park opened in 2010 as an oasis amid the downtown of Alabama's largest city. With the use of reclaimed materials, the park nods to the city's history as a railroad hub, but an active railroad line adjacent to the 19-acre park and sweeping views of the skyline showcase its present. As the first and largest downtown park of its kind, it also symbolizes a greener future.
About the Nominees
Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Des Moines, Iowa
At less than five acres, Papajohn Sculpture Park isn't the biggest park in Des Moines, but its unique for being set downtown and for the 25 sculptures, by prominent artists like Keith Haring, worth $40 million that John and Mary Pappajohn donated to the city.
The High Line, New York, N.Y.
This innovative and whimsical park a pedestrian walkway on an abandoned rail line 30 feet above the streets of Manhattan immediately earned its place as a must-see destination in a city that isn't short on must-see destinations. Opened to worldwide fanfare in 2009, the High Line is doubling in size this spring.
Paterson Great Falls, Paterson, N.J.
A state park since 2004, the 118-acre National Landmark District is to be designated a National Monument, following a 2009 Congressional authorization that stopped the construction of a 114-unit vinyl-sided townhouse development planned for the heart of the area. In the meantime, the old mills of the industrial park are being restored for a variety of uses as museums, galleries and public spaces all in the shadow of an impressive waterfall on the Passaic River.
Lake Union Park, Seattle, Wash.
Unveiled in September 2010, Lake Union Park is a 12-acre expanse dedicated to open space and maritime history in the heart of Seattle. The park was conceived of a century ago, and pieced together over 20 years; and there's more to come with museums and educational space dedicated to wooden boats, history and industry, and Native American canoes.
- Dan Shapley