Thursday, April 28, 2016

Waking Up with Eternal Spring Chi Kung

This post from Jeremy Hubbell of CK Chu Tai Chi talks about Eternal Spring, the style of tai chi offered at Bryant Park every Tuesday and Thursday morning in the spring and summer months.  

"A moving hinge never rusts."

For thousands of years, Taoists have been seeking to understand how to live a long and healthy life. They realized that nature, left to its own devices, takes care of itself; your body has tremendous rejuvenating capacity if you allow it the time each day to do so. Health, they found, depends on daily physical movement, deep breathing, and relaxation. This simple notion was captured in the saying, ‘a moving hinge never rusts’. The experimentation with particular routines of movement has led to the evolution of thousands of different kinds of health regimens or ‘chi kung’. This system of movement is one of the treasures China has been sharing with the world for more than a century.

In 2015, I wrote about how Grandmaster C.K. Chu developed the Eternal Spring Chi Kung™ program to help people improve their health and enable more people to enter into the richness of Tai Chi Practice. The Tai Chi Chuan Center’s summertime Bryant Park Tai Chi classes are composed of the Eternal Spring routine and the Tai Chi short form. We believe that offering Eternal Spring Classes gives people the necessary opportunity to move their bodies in a way that is self-healing.

Bryant Park Tai Chi practitioners reap the benefits of Eternal Spring.
Eternal Spring is a Chi Kung routine where breathing (long, deep, small smooth breaths that expand and contract the abdomen) coordinated with particular movements open up the joints and stretch the limbs. This combination of movement and breathing increases the circulation of body fluids, like blood and lymph, as well as energy, like the electricity of the nervous system or the electrical conduction of the fascia. In other words, it improves “chi” flow. Chi is a Chinese term that can take a whole book to explain. But to keep it simple: when we feel good because our posture is correct, our breathing is deep and full, and our body’s blood and lymph is circulating well that is feeling Chi. When we do Eternal Spring, we feel good - we have good chi - and we can relax. For Taoists, relaxation is a physical skill developed and perfected through exercise and correct breathing. Improving your chi though Eternal Spring is the result of relaxing; and the more you relax, the better your chi.

Regular practice of Eternal Spring leads to a process of anti-aging where the body becomes more relaxed in general and the body’s breathing becomes deeper as accumulated stresses are released. Grandmaster Chu would say that Eternal Spring is not exercise, it is a daily maintenance program - like brushing your teeth. You use the body everyday, you also need to tune it up everyday.

In a Bryant Park Tai Chi the benefits of chi kung are magnified by the setting. Doing Eternal Spring in a group while listening to the water of the fountain, feeling the sun on your face, and immersed in the beauty of Bryant Park can be a deeply rewarding experience. Come try a class with us!

World Tai Chi Day
Saturday, April 30
11am - 2pm
Fountain Terrace

Bryant Park Tai Chi
May 3 - September 29
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:30am - 8:30am
Fountain Terrace

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Too-Pretty Tulips Accessorize Plant Beds

Late April means we're in the throes of tulip season at the park. For several weeks, Tulipa of various hues and species explode from plant beds in waves. Here are some glamour shots of the reds, whites, and purples that are gracing the park.

These beauties popped up by the Bryant Park Grill

This color is very similar to Pantone's color of the year, "Rose Quartz." 

This hot pink tulip was spotted near the William Earl Dodge monument by the Reading Room

White tulips appear like snowballs in the northern plant bed. 

These fiery tulips pop against their green background. 

Tulip season falls neatly between daffodil season (the first of our bulbs to bloom in the season) and lily season, which will occur later in May. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bryant Park, Greener By The Year

In honor of Earth Day, we have pulled together our third installment of our blog series about how Bryant Park's daily operations are friendly to the planet. In the past we've highlighted our eco-friendly Bryant Park shop products, among other things. Here's a few more things to add to the list:
Charge your phone with eco-conscious style in Bryant Park.
1) Solar Charging Stations
Since 2014, Bryant Park has been the testing ground for the stylish and useful CityCharge solar chargers. They turn the park's abundant sunlight into useful energy, adding to the existing array of 42 public outlets and making Bryant Park even more tech-friendly. They are portable and durable, and during the summer can be found on the Upper Terrace, where you can charge up your phone while they soak up the sun.

Our planet-friendly fountain recycles its spray.
2) Josephine Shaw-Lowell Fountain
Once it fills with water, our fountain operates by recycling that water over and over again, rather than continuing to draw from the public supply. It has a filtration system that keeps the water free of algae or debris. The water is refreshed periodically so we can clean the fountain's stone and remove all the coins that accumulate. Another way the fountain is sustainable is that about $4,000 in coins is removed from the basin each year; that is approximately the annual maintenance cost of the fountain!

3) Flexi-Pave at Ping Pong
We've talked previously about how our ping pong furniture, from Loll, is made from recycled skateboard ramps. But did you know that the ground surface of the ping pong area is also recycled? Flexi-Pave, the material that covers the ground below the Tables, is made partially from used rubber tires. It provides a soft playing surface to keep ping pong players comfortable during long matches.

The Flexi-Pave ground surface, during its installation in 2014.
4) COFFEED's Sustainability Initiative
COFFEED, which is wrapping up its first year in our 40th Street kiosk, is doing more than its fair share to help the environment. In addition to sourcing its coffee beans from sustainable growers, the company grows much of the produce it uses in its delectable baked goods, salads and sandwiches. They even keep beehives and produce their own honey! Bryant Park staff visited their urban rooftop farm in Long Island City this past summer, and you can read our blog post about it here.

COFFEED's rooftop farm at the Brooklyn Grange
Urban green spaces are an essential part of sustainable cities, and we take that role seriously by doing our part to help the planet. Have a happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Broadway Boulevard Programming Lineup Announced

We here at Bryant Park manage public spaces in other parts of the city. Our sister district, the 34th Street Partnership (34SP), covers the area between Park and 10th Avenues and 31st and 35th Streets. 

Blog readers already know it's events brochure season--hopefully you've perused online or thumbed through a hard copy available in our brochure racks. Our sister district, the 34th Street Partnership, just released its own events brochure. Here's a glimpse into what's on deck this summer on Broadway Boulevard, just a couple blocks south of the park.   

On days when you're not sweating at Bryant Park's Boot Camp or Yoga, do so at Sweat34. This free fitness series, which takes place on Tuesday evenings, will challenge you and inspire you to try something new by offering classes from a rotating list of studios. Expect high-end classes from Tone House, Pop Up Yoga NYC, Ironstrength, and more. 
April 26 - September
6 - 7pm
Broadway Boulevard, between 34th and 35th Streets  

Yogis practice Crescent Lunge on Broadway Boulevard. 

Follow Talia Castro-Pozo to our sister to the south, as she teaches Salsa to all. 
June 30 - August 4
6 - 7:30pm

Broadway Boulevard, between 34th and 35th Streets 

Show off your moves with Hoop34, the most fun workout this side of The Big Island. 
June 13 - August 15
6 - 7pm
Broadway Boulevard, between 34th and 35th Streets 

Hoop! There is is! 

Broadway French Market purveyors bring fresh produce, prepared foods, and specialty gifts to Midtown three times per week. Stay tuned as themed markets are announced throughout the season. 
May - November
11am - 6pm
Broadway Boulevard, between 35th and 36th Streets 

Satisfy your thirst for knowledge with Tour34: Empire to Penn, which takes you through the district's colorful past (make sure you check out the Bryant Park Public Tours too!)
Fridays and Saturdays, year-round
12:30 - 2pm
Meeting place announced after ticket is purchased 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dip Your Toes Into Fly Fishing

Get to know Rob Ceccarini, the main instructor of our Fly Fishing class, in this interview. Fly Fishing, with Orvis, resumes on the Fifth Avenue Terrace this Saturday, April 23.   

How long have you been fly fishing? How did you get into it?
I’ve been fly fishing since about 1999. A friend gave me a college graduation gift of a fly rod and introduced me to the sport. I teamed that rod up with an Orvis reel that I purchased from our Greenvale, Long Island store and received a lot of instruction from the staff. My friend and I would go to Caleb State Park on Long Island, where she was a park ranger, and fish the small streams and ponds on the property for panfish. Soon the fly fishing addiction took over.
What’s your favorite part about fly fishing? Why should other people try it?
My favorite part of fly fishing is the camaraderie and the hunt. Sharing the river with others and enjoying the beauty of nature is a wonderful thing: you have a chance to experience catching a bright spotted brown trout, watching a bald eagle gaze over the river from its perch, having a doe and fawn approach the river for a drink, or seeing the sunset over the mountains. You're sure to create lasting memories. I would say anyone who is interested in fly fishing will quickly learn that trout live in some beautiful places and even if you have a bad day due to not catching you’re sure to have a good day outdoors.

Learn to cast and reel--without water!
What’s your most exciting/amusing story from your personal fly fishing experience?
I’ve had some very exciting days fly fishing including catching tuna on my honeymoon in Hawaii that we ate on the boat less than a minute after being caught. It doesn’t get much fresher than that. My most amusing experience was on a trip to Alaska several years ago. After spending what seemed like days to get to our final destination we decided to get on the water immediately. I spotted a trophy northern pike which later measured 45 inches and quickly got a cast off and hooked up. During the fight my reel feel off my rod. I was so excited to and pumped full of adrenalin when we were getting ready that I totally didn’t thread my reel on. When the reel fell off it bounced all over the boat while this massive fish went to berserk in the water. My buddy finally wrangled the reel but refused to give it back and instead took pictures and laughed at me while I tried to keep my wits about me. It may not sound that amusing but the pictures sure are.
Where would be your dream fly fishing destination? Why?
I recently knocked Belize off my bucket list of fishing destination and would put the Seychelles and Christmas Island near the top. The Seychelles are really remote and undeveloped and the fish are not just big but strong and nasty. I’d always be up for a trip out west to Montana or Colorado during the summer but there is no place I’d rather be than the Catskills in the spring.

Class spaces are first-come, first-served. To register, visit and click the blue and gold “Join Us” banner.

Fifth Avenue Terrace
Most Saturdays, April 23 - July 23

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Something to Celebrate this Tax Day

Tax Day is right around the corner. When sending out checks to the IRS, it can be a comfort to think of all the places your tax dollars go, from reinforcing bridges to feeding the hungry. If you think they go towards supporting all your favorite events and classes at Bryant Park, though, you'd be wrong.

Daffodils in the park, a sure sign that Tax Day is approaching.
Bryant Park receives no tax money from the city, state or federal government. This is good for the city,which benefits from the added property value of buildings around the park, but does not have to pay for the park's maintenance or programming. It's also good for other parks, away from which Bryant Park doesn't divert any funds or resources. And, it's better for Bryant Park, since it gets more money and staff attention than it would if the city were balancing its needs against the needs of other parks. 
Everything, from our spring plantings to our bistro chairs, is funded privately.
Finally, it's good for you, since Bryant Park's budget is independent of any government budget. If the next mayor, governor or president decides to cut funding to parks or public spaces, we can continue to provide the same quality sanitation, safety and programs that we provide today. This means there's no way Bryant Park will return to the disarray of the 70s on our watch.

If you find your wallet a little thinner after tax day, April 18, remember that all of Bryant Park's events are free to the public. If you're looking for a fitness class, film, or Shakespeare play to attend, check our calendar first.

So this Tax Day sit back, relax, and enjoy the sunshine in Bryant Park - it's free, in more ways than one!

Monday, April 11, 2016

2016 Spring List of Sightings

Over the last few years, we have cultivated a relationship with the NYC Audubon, resulting in biweekly Birding Tours of the park during migration. We've been delighted as our Audubon Guide Gabriel Willow teaches us about the avian life of NYC, and helps us spot some of these magnificent creatures up close. Now Gabriel shares his experiences in the park.

During our years of birding tours,120 unique species of bird have been spotted in Bryant Park. The below list of sightings will be updated after each tour. 

A sparrow rests on a balustrade.

Monday, April 11
Rock pigeon, House sparrow, Gray catbird, White-throated sparrow, Song sparrow, Fox sparrow, European starling

Thursday, April 14
Rock pigeon, House sparrow, Gray catbird, White-throated sparrow, song sparrow, European starling, Hermit thrush, Eastern towhee

Monday, April 18
Rock pigeon, House sparrow, White-throated sparrow, American robin, Gray catbird, Eastern towhee, Hermit thrush, Dark-eyed junco, European starling, Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Savannah sparrow (a species not spotted in the park since 2012), Song sparrow

Thursday, April 21
Brown thrasher, Rock pigeon, House sparrow, European starling, Dark-eyed junco, Hermit thrush, White-throated sparrow, Eastern towhee, Song sparrow, Peregrine falcon, Gray catbird

Monday, April 25
Rock Pigeon, Yellow-bellied sapsucker, House wren, Ruby-crowned kinglet, Hermit thrush, Gray catbird, European starling, White-throated sparrow, Song sparrow, Eastern towhee, House sparrow

Spring Birding Tours
April 11 - May 19
Mondays, 8am-9am
Thursdays, 5pm-6pm

Tours meet at the Birding Tours sign at the 42nd Street and 6th Avenue entrance