Friday, April 18, 2014

Sightseeing from Inside the Park: 42nd Street Beauties

Bryant Park is a beautiful place that is enhanced by our impressive park neighbors. In this this series of posts, we play "tour guide" and detail the striking buildings that can be seen from inside the park.

Connecting landmarks like Grand Central Station on the east side and Times Square on the west, 42nd Street is known by tourists and native New Yorkers alike. This important thoroughfare is near and dear to Bryant Park as it borders us to our north. Such a high-traffic street is a showcase for impressive buildings.

Both the Bank of America Tower (left) and the Grace Building (right), as seen from the park during this year's Winter Village (that's Celsius across the bottom of the photo).
One Bryant Park, Bank of America Tower
designed by Cook + Fox, 2009
113 West 42nd Street, NW corner of 6th Avenue and 42nd Street

This anchor on the northwest corner of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue is the second tallest building in New York City. Its multifaceted glass and colorful LED spire draw attention to the building day or night. The building, at 55 stories, is the home of our Winter Village title sponsor, Bank of America.

W. R. Grace Building
designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1974
1114 6th Avenue, 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues

This building is best know for its dramatic swoop away from Bryant Park, reminiscent of a ski slope. The building's facade on 43rd Street is identical to that on its 42nd Street side, and is the result of zoning laws that required setbacks away from the street.

Further east on 42nd Street, the Chrysler Building rises from the skyline.
Chrysler Building
designed by William Van Alen, 1930
405 Lexington Avenue, NE corner E. 42nd Street

The Chrysler Building, the fourth tallest in the city, tops off at 1048 feet and is known for its lacy top floors and needle-sharp spire. Built in the Art Deco style, this building emphasizes vertical lines and geometric embellishment. The tallest brick structure in the world, the building housed the headquarters of Chrysler Corporation for a quarter of a century.

You can see all this excellent architecture--and more, which we'll describe in upcoming posts--without leaving the park!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Reading Room Season Starts with Poem in Your Pocket Day

The traditional start of the Reading Room summer season, marked by Poem in Your Pocket Day, is upon us. Next Thursday, April 24, the 12th annual Poem in Your Pocket Day will bring student poets from fifteen New York City schools and writers groups to read their original works in an open mic format. This all day event, led by emcee Daniel Kitrosser, consistently draws over 1,000 people to the Reading Room.

Ramya Ramana, voted the NYC Youth Poet Laureate at the 5th Annual Youth Voter Poetry Slam Finals, will read an original work. She performed an original poem at the 2014 NYC Mayoral Inauguration.

A student reads during Poem in Your Pocket Day 2013. Photo by Angelito Jusay Photography.
Aside from the poetry readings, there will be performances by two groups. The Peace Poets is a collective of artists that celebrate, examine, and advocate for life through music and poetry; HumUni (hyoom-you-nigh) is a hip hop duo from Brooklyn whose sound is a combination of A Tribe Called Quest, OutKast, and BlackStar.

If you are a New York City student aged 18 or under, you may register to read your poem by emailing

Poem in Your Pocket Day
Thursday, April 24
11am - 2pm
Reading Room

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cast and Rig with Bryant Park Fly Fishing

We like to surprise our park patrons with creative programming, like our fly fishing lessons. Fly fishing without water? Yes, it is possible!

From the steps of the New York Public Library, you can perfect your technique so you can get straight to fishing the next time you're on the water. Experts from Orvis will help you rig your tackle and offer other tips and tricks. Register at 212-827-0698.

If you can't make it out to the water on a weekend, do the next best thing and join us for fly fishing in the park!

Check out this video, in which Orvis experts explain what they like so much about fly fishing.

Bryant Park Fly Fishing
Library Terrace
Saturdays, April 19 to June 14, July 19
10am - 12pm

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mother's Day Special

We've got a deal for our Mother's Day shoppers this year: the first five people who buy our "Meet Me in Bryant Park" envelope pendant receive a free anniversary tote.

Be one of the first five to buy this,
 and you get this...
If you need any other ideas for mom, be sure to visit our online shop and browse Bryant Park T-Shirts, film festival blanket, home decor (including our vintage bistro tables and chairs), commemorative chair plaque, or even our 'wichcraft gift certificate or cookbook. If she's a fan of Bryant Park, you'll definitely find something special for her in our shop!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Celebrate School Library Month at the Reading Room

Aside from being Grilled Cheese Month, April is also School Library Month, which is meant to celebrate the role that librarians and libraries play in a student's education and in the community at large. We are proud that we have our very own children's books on the 40th Street side of the park.

The children's cart has over 200 books for all ages, from preschoolers to teenagers. The books are kindly provided by Scholastic, Random House, and Macmillan, and the cart is presented by HSBC.

Hundreds of books for all ages await!
Kid-sized chairs and tables make the experience comfortable for young bookworms.

With its location near Le Carrousel and the Games Area, you can build a whole afternoon of educational, fun, and engrossing activities for a child in your life.

Bryant Park Children's Library
Daily, 11am to 7pm

Friday, April 11, 2014

Signs of Spring: 5 Reasons to Fence with Bryant Park

In this new "Signs of Spring" blog series, we'll be announcing the return of favorite park activities and teasing new programs for the upcoming season.  

The park is coming out of hibernation, and this includes our beloved Fencing program. Classes return in just a week on April 18, so we wanted to give you 5 great reasons to check it out!

1) You loved sword fighting as a little kid.
Learn to attack, disengage, parry, and riposte--fencing's basic offensive and defensive moves--with our partner Manhattan Fencing Center. All of the coaches have coached or fenced at Olympic and National levels, so you're learning from the experts.

2) You want some fresh air at lunch time.
Classes are from 1pm to 2pm every Friday. There's no better way to break up a long workday!

3) You like dressing up.
All equipment--face masks, back-zip cotton jackets, chest plates, and gloves--is provided. Even if your skills need some work, you'll look like you know what you're doing.

4) You need to stretch your legs. 
Classes start with a basic demonstration of technique, then transition to fencing "duels" between partners. The agility and quick thinking will get your blood flowing and your mind working.

5) You want to try something new. 
Classes are free and non-competitive--perfect for beginners. If you've always wanted to try fencing, or just want to check out a new hobby, this is your opportunity. Even better, you'll get personalized attention, since classes are capped at 14 people.

As stated in the video, classes usually fill up. New students should pre-register at 212-382-2255. Returning students can come to classes as a drop-in.

Bryant Park Fencing
Fridays, 1 – 2pm
April 18 – June 6
5th Avenue Terrace at 41st Street

Thursday, April 10, 2014

107 Reasons to Go on a Birding Tour

Last week Gabriel Willow, our Bryant Park Bird guide, noted that over 107 species of birds have been spotted in the park. If you aren't able to make our biweekly tours, you can still keep up with the park's avian life here on the blog, where we will post weekly discoveries from our Spring Tours. If you spot any species on your own, please feel free to leave comments or questions here, which we can relay to Gabriel.

Birding Tours of Bryant Park
Mondays, 8am - 9am
Thursdays, 5pm - 6pm
April 7 to May 22
Meet at 42nd Street and 6th Avenue for start of tour

Monday, April 7
Rock Pigeon, American Robin, Hermit Thrush, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Common Grackle, House Sparrow

Thursday, April 10
Rock Pigeon, Hermit Thrush, Song Sparrow, House Sparrow

Monday, April 14
Rock Pigeon, Northern Flicker, Hermit Thrush, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, House Sparrow

Thursday, April 17
Rock Pigeon, Hermit Thrush, White-throated Sparrow, House Sparrow