Monday, March 14, 2011

Bryant Park: Avenue of the Americas (6th) and 42nd St

My travels today took me by one of the numerous public parks in NYC, Bryant Park.  Before the year 2000 in the recent past, Bryant Park at night was a place one would not go unless it was to get drugs or unless one was homeless.  However, as part of the amazing clean up of NYC that was a hallmark of Mayor Rudy Giuliani's term, Bryant Park was transformed into a family friendly, welcoming park.

It's location is fantastic for easy access to much of Manhattan and abuts the NY Public Library (see my prior post on that tour).  At any given time, one can go to Bryant Park to get a little breathing room from the hustle and bustle of midtown Manhattan.  They have sandwiches for sale at Witchcraft (which are a bit overpriced for what they are), but I prefer to go to Crumb across the street on 42nd for fabulous, huge cupcakes--my favorite is apple caramel flavored.

In the winter, they clear out the center area of the park and build an ice rink for public skating that is much more roomy than the rink at Rockefeller Center--I saw them in the process of dismantling the rink today (see foreground of photo above right).  In the summer, they have a nicely kept lawn open for folks to picnic and lay out blankets for outdoor classic movies--you can order a pizza and have it delivered to your blanket if you remember to take a helium balloon to help mark your spot.  At other times throughout the year, they also host shopping fairs where vendors set up temporary kiosks to sell their wares--there is a great regular kettle corn vendor.

At most times, the park is set up for chess games, bocce, and plain lounging around at bistro tables for people watching.  The park is also very kid friendly, with a carousel (see left) as well as a little collection of children's books for perusing.

While this park may not be unique to NYC, such parks play an important role in making NYC a more pleasant place to live and be.  If you are interested, there is also a free audio tour narrated by Matthew Broderick available at

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