Monday, May 25, 2015

Reading Room Cliffs Notes: Week of May 25

Reading Room Cliffs Notes is the essential guide to what's going on in the Reading Room for the upcoming week. The "Flashback" section captures a highlight from last week, while "Foreshadowing" gives a full list of the upcoming week's events. Make a visit to the Bryant Park Reading Room presented by HSBC a plot point in your week!  

Flashback of the Week: Bethenny Frankel, I Suck At Relationships So You Don't Have To 
Photo by Angelito Jusay Photography 
Real Housewives of New York City stars Bethenny Frankel (right) and Carole Radzwill (left) discussed Bethenny’s new book, I Suck at Relationships so You Don’t Have to  and offered the audience a little dating and relationship advice. Frankel gave us her take on "understanding men," and what they really want when it comes to a relationship. She hopes that her book will help readers steer clear of her previous relationship "mistakes."

To find out more about how Bethenny would advise those just coming out of an "unhealthy" relationship and what exactly she believes are true relationship mistakes, pick up a copy of her latest book.

Foreshadowing for the Week of May 25

Tuesday: HSBC Sustainability: Living With Nature 
12:30pm, Reading Room
Mark Kurlansky, Food Writer, City Beasts: Fourteen Stories of Uninvited Wildlife
Hosted by Margaret Mittelbach, Wild New York

Tuesday: Word for Word Poetry welcomes Kenyon Review 
7pm, Reading Room
James McCorkle, Clare Rossini, G.C. Waldrep and David Baker read original works.
12:30pm, Reading Room
Hosted by Matthew Love, Time Out New York, Rolling Stone 
Hop in! It’s a cross-country trip with the popular filmmaker of Hairspray and Polyester.
The first person to say "Carsick" to the Reading Room Coordinator at the event will win a free copy of the book. 

Stay tuned as other Reading Room programs begin later in the season. For the entire season's lineup, visit the Word for Word page.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Spring Birding Tours Conclude

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.

For those of you following along at home, a Bryant Park bird update: in my last Bryant Park Birding blog post, I predicted that we would soon reach 119 bird species recorded in the park (and hopefully even 120!), and more specifically, that bird species #119 would be a Blackburnian Warbler. I wish I were the betting type (and knew someone who wanted to wager on bird sightings), because sure enough, one week later, we spotted a stunning male Blackburnian Warbler on our evening walk (you can see lists of all of the species seen on all of the walks here).

We didn't spot #120 on this walk, but surely someone will spot #120 soon! Not that numbers really matter of course, it's just fun to track these things and add a little drama and excitement to the bird walks. And there are a few species which I would expect to have been seen before, but that have never been reported from the park.

Warbling Vireo - Julio Mulero.
First among them is the Warbling Vireo: this is a nondescript but common bird. It is smallish, an undistinguished grayish green, with no spots, stripes, or bright colors. But what it lacks in feathery flair it makes up for with a distinctive husky, rambling, warbling song. They sit among dense foliage in tall cottonwoods, sycamores, and plane trees and glean for caterpillars between bouts of cheerful-sounding song. They are quite common in NYC, and even nest in larger parks like Central Park or Prospect Park (the vast majority of NYC's recorded bird species are just passing through during migration - there isn't enough habitat available for most species to choose to breed here).

Warbling Vireo - Patty McGann.

Given the nice stands of mature plane trees in Bryant Park, and the widespread nature of Warbling Vireos in NYC, I'm quite surprised they haven't been spotted in Bryant Park as of yet. It's only a matter of time really, and I predict that species sighting #120 will be this species. Anyone want to make a bet?

It's been a pleasure as always leading the Bryant Park Bird Walks for another season. I'll be back on September 14th to resume for the fall migration season. And for the first time, we'll be offering bird walks twice-weekly in the fall, just like in the spring! I hope to see you then.

Fall Birding Tours
September 14 - October 22
Mondays, 8am-9am
Thursdays, 5pm-6pm
Tours meet at the Birding Tours sign at the 42nd Street and 6th Avenue entrance 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bryant Park Shakespeare Photo Roundup: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Last weekend saw the beginning of a summer of Shakespeare here at the park. From Friday through Sunday, The Drilling Company performed Shakespeare's first play, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, to hundreds of audience members' delight.

The Drilling Company performs the play for the next two weekends, Friday through Sunday. If you did not join us last weekend, you still have plenty of time to enjoy the comedy, which deals with themes like friendship, infidelity, love, and mistaken identity. In a modern twist, The Drilling Company sets the play in New York City.

After The Two Gentlemen of Verona ends its run in the park, The Drilling Company will perform two other Shakespeare plays. In mid-July, enjoy Friday through Sunday performances of Romeo and Juliet, and come back in mid-September for Friday through Sunday performances of The Taming of the Shrew.

Bryant Park Shakespeare
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Friday through Sunday
May 15 - May 31
Friday and Saturday, 6:30pm
Sunday, 2pm

Don't Leave Your Belongings Behind!

At Bryant Park, we're constantly making improvements to our sanitation, security, and overall park operations to ensure everyone who visits has the most enjoyable and safe experience possible.

One result of having such a busy, bustling park is that our visitors sometimes leave their belongings behind. Perhaps they've been lying on the lawn with their phone beside them, or they were sitting on a bistro chair eating lunch with their bag dangling from their chair. No matter why they accidentally forget their items, we want to make sure their stuff returns to them safely. Or better yet, that they don't leave it behind in the first place!

Our new security program aims to urge park users to be mindful of their belongings as they relax. Our security officers now have beautifully designed handouts to give out if they spy someone whose belongings may be at risk of being left behind.

The handouts were specially designed by French illustrator Penelope Bagieu.
These cards will be handed out sparingly, as a small, precautionary measure to help out our park patrons. And even more than that - we think they're quite cute.

So, next time you're in the park, remember not to leave your belongings for the birds! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Painter In Residence Applications Open

If you're a visual artist who loves Bryant Park, consider applying for our Painter in Residence program. Now in its third year, the program invites four painters to create representations of Bryant Park for two weeks each. At the end of each painter's stint in the park, the pieces are added to Bryant Park's permanent--and growing--collection of art. Applications close on June 30. 
The dates of the residencies are as follows:
August 3 - August 14
August 17 - August 28
August 31 - September 11
September 14 - September 25

Click through to the application for more information. 

Artist Anne Kullaf, one of last year's painters, works on a piece.
Photo: Jusay Photography.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Reading Room Cliff Notes: Week of May 18

Reading Room Cliffs Notes is the essential guide to what's going on in the Reading Room for the upcoming week. The "Flashback" section captures a highlight from last week, while "Foreshadowing" gives a full list of the upcoming week's events. Make a visit to the Bryant Park Reading Room presented by HSBC a plot point in your week!  

Flashback of the Week: Word for Word Poetry with Dos Madres Press 
Daniel Shapiro reads a few of his latest poems. 
On Tuesday, May 12, an impressive 89 visitors came out for the first Poetry Reading with Dos Madres Press, the first of 21 weeks of poetry. 

Foreshadowing for the Week of May 11

Tuesday: Word for Word Poetry
7pm, Reading Room
Poets Jason SchneidermanRachel Zucker, and Wayne Koestenbaum read selections of their work.

Wednesday: Word for Word Author welcomes Bethenny Frankel, I Suck at Relationships So You Don't Have To
Hosted by Carole Radziwill, The Widow's Guide to Sex & Dating 
The Real Housewives of New York City star with no-nonsense advice on dating and relationships.

Stay tuned as other Reading Room programs begin later in the season. For the entire season's lineup, visit the Word for Word page.   

Friday, May 15, 2015

#meetmeonthelawn Instagram Contest Winners Announced

On Monday, we celebrated the opening of our lawn for the summer season. The day was gorgeous and many hundreds of people wiggled their toes, ate lunch, and relaxed on our emerald green grass. As part of the excitement surrounding the lawn opening (which we consider a sure sign that summer is approaching!), we asked our Instagram followers to use #meetmeonthelawn to win prizes from the Bryant Park Shop.

Enjoy the winning photos, below.

"G R E E N S I D E Wish I knew what was so funny @bryantparknyc #meetmeonthelawn #bryantpark #nyc #fun #summer #lunchbreak #selfie #sunshine #grassstains #loveit"
From Instagrammer @janinetondu

"Up close and personal with nature #bryantpark#meetmeonthelawn #finally"

From Instagrammer @

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Free Art Lessons at Art Cart

The Art Cart, our newest amenity, nestles creative chaos on the north side of the Library Terrace. From 11am to 7pm daily, let your imagination run wild with professional-grade drawing and craft materials. If you're stumped on what to create, or want to learn a new technique, register for our free lessons with skilled instructors, called Drawing Lessons and Structured Play.

During Structured Play classes, Cassie and Meredith from Artist & Craftsman Supply lead one-hour specialty classes. In April, Structured Play participants worked on collages with paper cutouts, tissue paper and leaf applique while learning about different types of glue/adhesive. In May, participants worked with stencils and repeated patterns, creating their own stencils out of paper, layering patterns on one unified drawing board, and seeing how larger stencils and airbrushing can be used to make custom T-shirts. Structured Play is free and all levels are welcome (the age listed is a recommendation, but we can accommodate any age); participants are encouraged to pre-register.

Structured play participants work with paper and glue to create one-of-a-kind works. 

During Drawing Lessons, artist Samantha teaches drawing techniques such as line, shade, and crosshatch, and then applies those skills to an element in Bryant Park. In past weeks, participants have drawn the lions Patience and Fortitude, the New York Public Library fa├žade, library fountains, Fifth Avenue Terrace balustrade, and people eating lunch in the park. To keep the inspiration fresh, the May 20th and 27th sessions will have still-life setups. Drawing Lessons are Wednesdays; the first and third of each month are for adults, while the second and fourth are recommended for children age 8-12.

Samantha teaches line, shading, and cross hatch. 

And as always, you get to take your project home with you!!

Register here for classes.

Artist & Craftsman Supply have generously donated materials for use throughout the Art Cart season.

Art Cart Classes
Select Tuesdays and Wednesdays