Bryant Park, New York City
Bryant Park is a rather lovely open space (lots of trees, flowerbeds, lovely green lawn) behind the NY Public Library.
As well as having tables and seating (and many, many people enjoying their books in the shade) there's an area for petanque (a French bowls game). And lots of events, of course...
But it's worth seeking out Bryant Park simply for the most magnificent public toilets. Sparklingly clean, fresh flowers, classical music playing..absolutely superb and quite possibly the best public toilet I have had the pleasure of using!
Midtown Manhattan, between 40th & 42nd streets and 5th & 6th avenues. The toilets are on the 42nd Street side.
“A private sin is not so prejudicial in this world, as a public indecency.”
— Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616)
This bronze of Miguel Cervantes, Spanish writer, stands at the end of a long, narrow mews on the campus of New York University. Cervantes has his left hand on the hilt of a sword and his right hand is clutching a roll of paper, perhaps the manuscript of his novel Don Quixote, considered among the best novel ever written.
The bronze was a gift of the mayor of Madrid and came to New York in 1986. Originally installed in New York’s Bryant Park, it was removed in 1989 as part of that park’s renovation. It was meant to be placed in Washington Square Park, but was decided that it is too delicate and it was placed in the Mews instead, just north of Washington Square Park.
Born on 29.September.1547 Cervantes died in Madrid on April 23, 1616. He was a powerful influence on Spanish culture of the 16th century.
Though nothing in Manhattan is really "off the beaten path", at least Bryant Park is not one of the top-10 tourist destinations in the city! Located just one block from Times Square, it is an oasis of tranquility after that mad house... Though Bryant Park is considered the 16th most visited city park in America, it is just the 4th most visited city park in New York after Central Park, Coney Island, and Prospect Park. It still gets an estimated 3.5 million visitors each year!
At Bryant Park, you can relax on the lush green lawn, walk through the gardens, play chess, enjoy the free wireless internet access, and use the free public restroom (relief!)...
One end of the park is anchored by the New York Public Library, while the other three sides are bordered by 40th Street, 42nd Street, and the Avenue of the Americas. Throughout the park you can also find food and refreshments such as coffee, ice cream, and the Bryant Park Grill.
Bryant Park's origins date from 1686 when this space was first designated for public use. Later, George Washington's colonial army fled the British through this area, then it was designated a potter's field. From the 1840s to the 1890s, this area hosted a city reservoir, and in 1884, the area was officially named Bryant Park in honor of William Cullen Bryant, a writer of that era. After years of neglect, the park was revitalized in the 1980s.
I was surprised to see that the Project for Public Spaces named Bryant Park the 7th worst park in the world. They obviously never visited some of the parks where I grew up in Western Pennsylvania!
Classic Date night:
Watch a movie with your fellow New Yorkers in Bryant Park, on 42nd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, under the shade of the stately New York Public Library! On a warm summer's night, Bryant Park offers free movies, with people coming in aroudn 5pm, on a large screen, projecting to the large Bryant Park lawn. Bring blankets, chairs, picnic baskets, and a loved one and snuggle in the warm New York Air watching "To Have and Have Not" (or whatever show they're showing....I saw Love Affair there and it was amazing...brings a new meaning to dancing in the moonlight...)
No tickets are needed, just bring something to sit on the lawn with. Just walk into the park, pick a spot, and wait for the movie! The movie starts at dusk, which in a NY summer is 8-9pmish. No plastic tarps, we New Yorkers care about what little greenery we do have! :-)
Enjoy and bring plenty of lemonade! NY is wickedly hot and humid in the summer!
Enjoy the concerts and performances at the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center which is a luxorious shopping and business
complexion on the waterfront in Lower Manhattan.
Go to the New York Stock Exchange and
watch those dealers and traders as they are working. You'll see how millions of dollars trade hands. This is nothing really intresting, but a great place to visit anyway.
Take advantage of "free nights" at the New York's finest museums. For example friday nights are free in the Whitney Museum of American Art, on Fridays 5-8pm you can pay whatever you want in the Solomon R. Guggenheim, Tuesday evenings are free in the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum
Enjoy free concerts, outdoor movies and other special events in Bryant Park.
Take a walk in Battery Park Esplanade and enjoy the spectacular views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty.
Smell the beautiful roses at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and learn about botany and garden lore at special exhibitions in the conservatory.
On the summertime you can enjoy the best classical music, drama, opera, dance and jazz that New York has to offer at free warm-weather concerts in the city parks.
There are parks in New York (particularly Bryant Park) where there are chess tables, and you can sit down and play with a total stranger, not necessarily for money but just for fun! I found this really beautiful for some reason, the way it brings strangers together to compete in such a peaceful game outside. A man asked me if I wanted to play him, but I had to decline as it was time for my college group to move on. I'm quite sure I would have lost anyway, as I'm not very good at chess, but still!
The 1924 Bryant Park Hotel, formerly the American Radiator Building, is a luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan, accross the street from the New York Public Library, Bryant Park and Fifth Avenue.
The black brick facade of this striking gothic building is set off by gold-terra cotta trim, the sleek design makes it look taller than its 23 stories.
Still, it is clearly visible from the observatory deck of the Empire State Building, just look to the north... and down :)
address : 40W 40th St
S,4,6,7 to 42nd St - Grand Central
B,D,F to 42nd St - Sixth Avenue
The space now known as Bryant Park was set aside in the 17th century, and has been known as Bryant Park since the 1840s. Today the area is a haven of relaxation, one of the city's largest green spaces after Central Park. Numerous tables are usually filled at lunchtime, and walking space is generally filled. The site is known in some guides as "a canyon amid the skyscrapers." One minute here and you'll understand why.
In the summertime, Bryant Park, directly behind the main New York Public Library, hosts outdoor movies on a big screen every Monday evening. They range from recent favourites to well-known classics, and there’s always a big crowd there. In fact, if you have any interest at all in actually seeing the movie, you have to be there hours early: most people go there straight after work and chat and picnic until it gets dark enough for the movie to start. Even when we arrived a couple of hours early for a movie that wasn’t all that popular, we were sitting at the very back. Still, it’s well worth making the effort, since there’s a really festive atmosphere in among the blankets and the bottles of wine making the rounds among knots of friends, and the movie choices are invariably good.
Bryant Park is really quite lovely -- just steps from noisy Times Square, behind the NYC Public Library. There are a few too many Starbucks (I swear there's one on each corner) but this is a perfect place to settle down with a picnic breakfast and read the Sunday NY Times. It reminded me of a mini Luxembourg Gardens. Sort of. There's a place to find a chess game, and a carosel for the kiddies. Also, a nice cafe & grill.
There is always something to do at Bryant Park For a listing of events check out their website. My favorite was catching Stomp perform at he Broadway in the Park in the summer.