The backyard of one of the most exclusive co-ops in the city is becoming a public park

Since 1939, the beautiful gardens behind One Sutton Place South on the East River have been enjoyed exclusively by the well-heeled residents of that co-op. But soon, everyone in New York City will be allowed to stretch out on the lovely patch of grass.

That’s because after a 15-year fight, the 10,000-square-foot space — which spans 57th Street along the East River — is finally becoming a public park. Plans for the space have just been approved by the city, according to DNA Info. The new space will have chairs, chess boards and be open until 9 pm.

The space was leased to the building from 1939 until 1989 during the construction of the FDR Drive, but when the lease (which One Sutton Place was paying around $1-a-year for) expired, the city forgot about it. And One Sutton Place residents weren’t quick to remind them.

In fact, according to Steven Gaines’ book “The Sky’s the Limit,” new residents of the building were forced to sign a confidentiality agreement, promising never to remind anyone in the city that the building did not own the park.

In 2003, however, the city did realize their mistake when the FDR was set to be renovated. And so began a 10-year long fight between the building and the city, which ended in 2011 when the two groups agreed that the building would get to keep a small 4,000-square-foot sliver of land, and the city would get the rest.

Now that the plans have been approved, work on the park can officially begin. And boy can we not wait to sink our toes into that plush, co-op grass. [DNAInfo]