Then while researching I came across this from a publication called The Survey, Volume 6
By Survey Associates, Charity Organization Society of the City of New York, Jan-June 1901. It is referring to the parks that at that time had been recently established.
They still belong to a class of open spaces of which we have many in America the sort of place in which one finds asphalt paths bordered with little posts with curly wire nailed along the top and grass between. Places of this sort are well called breathing spaces you can go there and breathe but there is very little else you can do.