I think these planters are trying to cross the street to get to the park.
I'm sorry, but I just don't understand this concept of carving out sitting areas in the middle of busy NYC streets when there are actual parks (and rather nice ones too), mere steps away. . .
. . .speaking of which, both of these parks were no-man's lands back in the '70's, but at some point were reclaimed for the public's enjoyment.