Friday, November 28, 2014

Flowers Appear Below Bryant Park

Something exciting has happened in the 42nd Street-Bryant Park subway stop: a beautiful array of botanical designs have appeared within the station. We put a lot of effort into Bryant Park's horticulture, and we're happy that now that extends below ground.
A closeup of one of Munson's botanical designs
Photo by MTA
According to this article in Newsday, the artwork, called Botanicals Below Bryant Park, is by artist Portia Munson, a resident of Upstate New York. Inspired by her grandmother's garden, she picks her flowers before they wilt and arranges them in mesmerizing geometric patterns. 
We love the way they look and appreciate the way they spruce up the subway station into something lively and positive. Next time you find yourself on the B, D, F, M, or 7 trains, take a minute to marvel at these beauties. Then, head upstairs to Bryant Park and enjoy some more flowers in person! You can read more about the installation on the MTA's website here.
Botanicals Below Bryant Park are a natural pick-me-up in the tunnels below the park.
Photo by Charles Eckert
We're always looking to improve the area around the park, so keep an eye out for another change heading underground: a new subway monitor! By now you've seen our installation in the stairwell on the northwest corner of 40th Street and 6th Avenue, but prepare yourselves for an even better upgrade in the coming months!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Play Along as the Fountain Freezes

Now that our signature Bank of America Winter Village Holiday Shops events (Tasting Tuesday, Walk the Shops, and Get On the Map!) are over for the season, we have one final way to win a Holiday Shops gift certificate!

The recent cold weather has increased the chances that the Josephine Shaw Lowell Fountain will freeze. We love the public's excitement when the fountain freezes, past years have seen some truly stunning frozen fountains. This year, the fountain freeze can win you a gift certificate to the Holiday Shops.

The Fountain has frozen over spectacularly in previous years. Just an icicle or two won't qualify as "frozen" for us!
There are two ways to play:

1) Foretell the Freeze - predict the date on which the Fountain will freeze. Tweet your guess with the hashtag #BPFrozenFountain; the person with the closest guess will win a Holiday Shops Gift Certificate.

2) Freeze Frame - after the Fountain has frozen, Instagram your most artistic photo of the icy Fountain with the hashtag #BPFrozenFountain; the person with the best photograph of the Fountain will win a Holiday Shops Gift Certificate.

The Frozen Fountain contest sign is placed near the Fountain, so remember to play!
If the Fountain does not freeze sufficiently (we'll be the judge, and an icicle or two just isn't going to cut it) before the Holiday Shops close for the season on January 4, the game will be paused until next winter!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Shop the Season: Plant Therapy

Maureen from the executive office learns some plant parenting tips at the Bank of America Winter Village.

I love having plants around me. I have them at home and on my desk at work. Liking plants, however, does not mean I am good at taking care of them. I have killed every type of plant you can imagine: herbs, ivy, even cacti have died on my watch.

This pathetic plant currently on my desk used to have dozens of leaves, all of which have fallen off. 

A woman at her wits' end, I stumbled into The Garden of Curiosity (kiosk K4), which sells a variety of succulents. I have always liked succulents; their miniature size and quirky curls give them a personality very much like my own. Plus, I'd heard they're easy to care for. I figured if the greenthumbs behind the kiosk couldn't help me stop loving my plants to death, I should give up and start a rock garden. 
The succulents are sold in a variety of formats: suspended from the ceiling in charming glass enclosures, emerging from a slate tile attached to the wall, and planted in hollowed out birch tree trunks.

The proprietor was super friendly and listened without flinching as I enumerated my rap sheet of crimes against fauna. She suggested that I was over-watering my plants, and that her succulents only needed a bit of water once every two weeks. Instead of letting me feel bad about my plant care capabilities, she assured me that in fact my hypervigilant watering indicated that I probably had the potential to be a good plant mom. 

The succulent plantings are micro-environments with pleasing color and texture. I half expected that a fairy would peek out from behind a leaf in this presentation.

I immediately felt better, and looked around the shop, which suddenly seemed to be filled with possibility. Instead of cowering from me, I felt the plants' curly leaves embrace me.

The shop's goods range in size and price point, so you'd be able to find exactly the succulent arrangement you've dreamed of. The shop owner can also whip up an arrangement on the spot.

The shop's most petite offering, mini cacti, are sold inside keychain fobs. The key fobs come in two sizes; the smallest sized cactus can live for two years in its plexiglass dome until it needs to be re-potted in the slightly larger dome. Proud owners can water their cactus once every two weeks by setting the base of the key fob in a bottle cap filled with water.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the largest pieces in the kiosk are absolutely showstopping. These pieces are twisted tree trunks topped with custom-fitted, hand-blown sea glass bowls in which a succulent is delicately placed. These works are one-of-a-kind and would make a breathtaking display on a coffee table. 

I will certainly be going back to the kiosk for further parenting advice on the newest (and hopefully, longest-lived) addition to my plant family.

Welcome, little guy!
Holiday Shops at Bank of America Winter Village
Weekdays, 11am - 8pm
Saturdays, 10am - 9pm
Sundays, 10am - 6pm

Monday, November 24, 2014

Celebrate Thanksgiving at Bryant Park

Looking for something fun to do with your family and friends after (or during) the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but before you gorge yourself on turkey, stuffing, and pie? Fear not - Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park will be open on Thanksgiving!

Bryant Park has something for each member of the family. Tackle some holiday shopping at The Shops, burn off some pre-turkey calories at The Rink, or enjoy food and drinks from Celsius or the Bryant Park Grill.

Although parts of the park will be closed to the public before and during the parade (shown in red below), the park will resume normal operations once the parade has passed by at around noon. When you do arrive at the park, be sure to use entrances along 42nd Streets, as those along 6th Avenue and 40th Streets will be closed during the parade.

This map shows park access as the Thanksgiving Parade passes the park. The entire park will open to the public around noon.

Grab your friends and family and join us at The Rink for some Thanksgiving fun
To make your visit that much easier, we've included a handy list of all the special hours and promotions available in the park on Thanksgiving Day:

Skate around on the city's only free-admission, public ice skating rink!

The Holiday Shops: 11am-8pm
Although many Shops do choose to stay open on Thanksgiving, it is ultimately up to the individual vendors to decide. For this reason, certain Holiday Shops may close early or close entirely for the day.

Le Carrousel: 9am-10pm
Take a whirl on Le Carrousel - it's the perfect place to take those little cousins who are visiting and just won't sit still.

Southwest Porch: 10am-10pm
The toasty warm fire pit at the Southwest Porch is a great place to warm up while grabbing a drink or a snack.

Sandwich, Coffee, and Grilled Cheese Kiosks will operate with normal hours (which can be found here). Yogurt and Hot Chocolate Kiosks will be closed for the day.

Bryant Park Grill: 12pm-9pm
If you're looking to skip the Thanksgiving cooking hassle, why not let the talented chefs at The Grill do the work for you? They have a special prix fix Thanksgiving menu. Call them up at (212) 840-6500 to make a reservation.

Celsius: 12pm-10pm
Warm up under Celsius' outdoor heaters or sit upstairs with the best of The Rink below. Grab a delicious cocktail or indulge in some pre-turkey feasting.

Celsius's upstairs dining room is surrounded by glass - the perfect place to watch skaters below and enjoy a warm meal.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Meal with a View at Celsius

It brings a smile to our faces and rumble to our stomachs when we see our favorite pop-up restaurant Celsius appear in the park. Located at the northeast corner of The Rink, Celsius offers great food with stunning view of Bank of America Winter Village.

The perfect place for a quick bite or a lengthy meal, Celsius has a variety of seating options. You can sit outside on the first floor under toasty warm heaters or inside at the bar. You can also head upstairs to the second floor dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows and great views of skaters on The Rink below.

Celsius's large menu includes small plates, salads, sandwiches, entrees, sides, desserts, cocktails, non-alcoholic hot beverages, beer, and wine. Take a look below at some selections from their menu.

Spiced Hot Cider
A great way to warm up after some skating on The Rink. Wrap your hands around this mug and enjoy cider served with a cinnamon stick and clove.
Mediterranean Plate
A perfect starter to share with friends. Comes with hummus, babaganoush, feta, roasted beet, olives, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and toasty warm pita bread. 
Falafel Sliders
The order comes with three sliders total, along with cucumber, plum tomatoes, and hummus spread on brioche buns with a side of fries and harissa (vegetarian). The fries were so good that we ordered an extra side of fries after tasting them!
Bryant's Mac & Cheese
Served in a sizzly cast-iron pan, the mac & cheese has a creamy blend of cheddar, jack, and gruyere and is topped with breadcrumbs (we recommend adding smoked bacon as well). 
Winter Vegetable Orecchiette
With vegetable ratatouille and fresh herbs, garlic, and shaved Parmesan (vegetarian).
Roasted Kale and Quinoa Salad
The salad features all the protein and vegetables you could wish for: roasted kale, quinoa, chickpeas, carrots, dates, jicama, sprouts, cherry tomatoes, and a green goddess dressing. This is one satisfying salad. 

Short Rib Pot Roast
With potatoes, carrot, celery, and onion, slow cooked in a rich re wine infused demi glace, finished with a warm cheddar biscuit. The pot roast was rich and the cheddar biscuit was the best we've had in quite some time.
Pan Roasted Salmon
With roasted butternut squash, quinoa salad, and herb jus, this filet is the perfect meal for the beginning of winter. 
Blue Velvet Cake
A fun spin on the tradition red velvet cake, this delicious blue slice with vanilla crema is a delicious way to end a meal at Celsius.

Celsius occasionally closes for private events and tables there become a hot commodity when Winter Village is busiest on holidays and weekends. Although Celsius does not take advance reservations, the restaurant is quite large and can typically seat people without a wait during the daytime.

For information on how to hold your next private event or party at Celsius, visit their website or call them at (212) 792-9603.

Open through March 1, 2015
Regular hours
Monday-Friday: 12pm-10pm
Saturday & Sunday: 11am-10pm

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Support Small Neighborhood Parks with Purchase from BP Shop

Bryant Park Corporation has worked closely with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to explore funding opportunities for the recently launched Community Parks Initiative (CPI), a multi-faceted city program to invest in under-resourced public parks located in NYC’s densely populated and growing neighborhoods where there are higher-than-average concentrations of poverty.

Now, we’ve made it possible for you to show your support for the Mayor’s park equity initiative too. Every dollar collected from the sale of NYC Parks logo merchandise on Bryant Park Shop, will be donated to CPI. By purchasing, you are contributing to the capital improvement, green infrastructure improvement, recreational programming, and maintenance of 35 community parks across the five boroughs.

Shop online or in-person at our Bryant Park Shop kiosk on the 42nd Street side of the park.

NYC Parks Mug

NYC Parks Cap

NYC Parks Zip-Up Hoodie

NYC Parks Longsleeve Shirt

Holiday Shops at Bank of America Winter Village
Bryant Park Shop (kiosk F9, on the 42nd Street side of the park)
Weekdays, 11am - 8pm
Saturdays, 10am - 9pm
Sundays, 10am - 6pm

Friday, November 21, 2014

Winter Village Christmas Tree Arrives

The appearance of a gigantic evergreen tree in the park can only mean that the Bank of America Winter Village Tree Lighting is just around the corner. The tree was loaded in overnight on November 20, and will be decorated over the next several days in time for the Tree Lighting. Here is some more information about our 50 foot tall Norway spruce, generously donated this year by the Rowley family from Pearl River, NY.

The Tree has arrived in the park. It is still wrapped tight; the branches will be unwrapped and allowed to fall over the next several days. Then, the decoration with ornaments and lights begins. 

In a statement, the Rowleys said they are “delighted that [their] tree has been chosen as the Bryant Park tree.” They always imagined that that it would be a part of something big, even when it was only 8 feet tall, the tree's height when they moved to their home in 1995.  For the Rowleys, the tree embodies the magic, wonderment and togetherness of the holidays and serves as a beacon of welcome to any who should gather around it. But most importantly, as immigrants from Ireland, they hope this pine will inspire people to “dare to dream” just as they did about coming to America and settling at the farm where their dreams came true and the humble evergreen was grown.

The Tree Lighting is slated for December 2 at 6pm, so stay tuned to the blog for more details about the lineup.