Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Enjoy a Sonic Smorgasbord with Accordions Around the World

To celebrate the start or return of many Bryant Park summer programs, and to introduce our readers to our fantastic partners, we asked our partners to write guest blog posts. This post comes from Ariana Hellerman of Ariana's List, our curator for Wednesday evening Accordions Around the World

My name is Ariana Hellerman and I'm the curator of Ariana's List, a culled listing of free cultural events around NYC. I write about culture: my own and others. I'm a believer that arts should always be accessible to ALL people. In addition to my list, I program public spaces around NYC with free culture and work on community engagement initiatives in the arts.

Individual accordionists are stationed around the park.
In collaboration with Bryant Park for a third year, I’ve reached out to over 300 accordionists of different musical styles and traditions in the NYC area to create this trip-around-the-world, accordion-style.  Each week is a scavenger hunt for the audience – it’s participatory and an opportunity to learn about the many stylings of an often-dismissed instrument. A great documentary on the series was made by Danny’s Guitar Shop. Read, listen, and watch additional press herehere, here, and here.

On Wednesdays through August 26, experience accordion traditions from around the world with my fun little project (ok, it’s really not so little with 100+ accordionists participating), Accordions Around the World. The format is different this year: ten accordionists will play each week in different pockets of Bryant Park. Come for a stroll; leave with a taste of music from around the world.

Enjoy a sonic smorgasbord.
On Friday, August 28th, two days after the end of the traditional series of performances, for the first time ever, we’ll have an accordion festival! Six bands (all with an accordion, of course!), will play from 4:30 – 10pm. Sample Cajun, Slavic, French, Argentine, Colombian, and Irish music, with solo accordion interludes during the transitions. It’ll be a good time. I hope you’ll check it out.

Some of the soloists sing as well.

Please, please come visit, enjoy the accordion (trust me – it is possible!), and come say hello. It’s one of my biggest joys. I’m the blond girl, running laps around the park, with camera in hand.

Accordions Around the World
Wednesdays, July 1 - August 26
6pm - 8pm
throughout the park 

Accordion Bands Festival
Friday, August 28
4:30pm - 10pm
throughout the park


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Perfect Your Game with Pros from the PGA

Earlier this year, the PGA teamed up with Bryant Park to present a Family Fun Zone golf event at the Putting Green. Experts from the PGA will be back at the Putting Green one night per month in July, August, and September to help you perfect your game.

Learn putting techniques, get tips on how to play golf in the metropolitan area, and hear about additional introductory golf opportunities. The first 10 minutes of each session consists of group instruction, followed by smaller group and individual instruction. Putters will be provided, but you may bring your own if you prefer.

Photo by Jusay Photography.
Each clinic date will feature two 45-minute sessions: Session 1 starts at 6:30pm and Session 2 starts at 7:15pm. Pre-register for the session you'd like to attend, and arrive 10 minutes before your start time to check in. Walk-in registration will begin at 6:30pm for Session 1 and 7:15pm at Session 2, if space allows.

PGA Clinics at The Green
July 30, August 13, and September 17
First session at 6:30pm
The Green

Monday, July 27, 2015

Reading Room Cliffs Notes: Week of July 27

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 to Non-Fiction with Martha Hodes

Professor and historian Martha Hodes talks about her latest book Mourning Lincoln

Last week Martha Hodes stopped by the Bryant Park Reading Room to join the Word for Word Non-Fiction Series, which focuses on lectures pertaining to the Civil War. While there are countless books on the Civil War and Lincoln, what makes Hodes' new book, Mourning Lincoln, distinct from other Civil War novels is that she looks at individual Americans' responses to the Assassination of President Lincoln. Hodes looks at diaries, letters, journals, and newspaper articles (among other things), which allows the reader to see both sides of the public's opinion towards Lincoln's death. Hodes compares Lincoln's death for those living in 1865 to what 9/11 was for many of us today. Mourning Lincoln is a must read for any Lincoln fan.

Foreshadowing for the Week of July 27

12:30am: Reel Talks- Badlands
Lively and entertaining commentary on Badlands
With resident film expert Scott Adlerberg and Author & Film Critic Stephen Whitty 

10:30am: StoryTime
Cali Co Cat with tails, meowsic, and arts & crafts to boot!

12:30pm: Word for Word BookClub- Hamlet
BookClub discussion on Hamlet by William Shakespeare.
Facilitated by Max Gladstone, Last First Snow

7:00pm: Word for Word Poetry welcomes Sibling Rivalry Press
Featuring the Poets on Sibling Rivalry Press;
Jane Summer
Ralph Hamilton
Robert Siek
Priscilla Atkins

12:30pm: Word for Word Author presents Colin Quinn, The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America 
Hosted by Dave Itzkoff, New York Times 

Laugh-out-loud look into why we tiptoe around the very subject we should be celebrating – diversity.
The first person to say "The Coloring Book" to the Reading Room Coordinator at the event will win a free copy of the book.

7:00pm: Word for Word Non-Fiction presents Charles Kaiser, The Cost of Courage  
Charles KaiserThe Cost of Courage 

Produced in partnership with New-York Historical Society

7pm: Word for Word Writers Short Story 2.0
Pen your own short story at this writers workshop guaranteed to improve and perfect.
Pre-registration required. 
Facilitated by Miranda McLeod, MFA, NYU

12:00pm: Word for Word Kids
Cowboy Sing-a-long with Hopalong Andrew 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Behind The Scenes: Film Fest Instagram Roundup

We hardly can believe it, but the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival presented by Bank of America is half over. Five of our ten films have been shown, thousands of corn kernels have been popped and eaten, and hundreds of eager fans have rushed our lovely green lawn to claim their spots. Summer, as we know it, is half over. We already feel nostalgic!

To celebrate the weeks to come, let's take a look back at some of your beautiful #bpfilmfest Instagrams thus far. If you like what you see, follow Bryant Park at @bryantparknyc for more shots of events and activities in the park.

It wouldn't be Instagram if we didn't showcase some food, and @manhattanagriculture has us covered with this beautiful spread from Bisska, a vendor at the Hester Street Fair. You can buy similar goodies before the start of each movie. Bonus points for the hashtag displayed on the napkin.
This black-and-white, high-contrast shot is brought to you by @braunxville, who captured the iconic marshmallow man from our kickoff showing of Ghostbusters. See the reflection of the Chrysler Building in the glass of 3 Bryant Park? Pure artistry.

The Bryant Park lawn steals the mis-en-scene in this snap by @devan_ashley. Look at those blades of grass, so green and luscious! We work very hard to keep them that way, so that the lawn can be used to its fullest potential--like being sprawled upon by thousands of movie fans.

@bsalavarrieta (whose first name is Bryant!) knows that Bryant Park has WiFi and outlets, making your pre-film waiting game into a productive work session. Whether you'd like to surf the web, check your email (pictured,) or play video games while hiding behind your parents (also pictured,) we've got you covered.

Ah, young love. Instagrammer @johndolanphotog captured this scene of a couple with the perfect idea for a date night. Whether you bring a sweetheart, a parent, or someone from a town that has outlawed dancing, we hope to see you on Monday the 27th for Footloose.
Kevin Bacon moves from Chicago to a small Midwestern town where he can't believe that rock music and dancing are banned. He meets a girl (Lori Singer) and convinces the town council and the preacher (John Lithgow) to let the prom go on. The songs Footloose and Let's Hear It for the Boy were Oscar nominated. Directed by Herbert Ross. (1984) 107 min. (R) Paramount.
Mondays, June 16 through August 18
Lawn opens at 5pm
Films start 30 minutes after sunset

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Benefits of Walking Meditation

To celebrate the start or return of many Bryant Park summer programs, and to introduce our readers to our fantastic partners, we asked our partners to write guest blog posts. This post comes from Qalvy Grainzvolt of the Shinnyo Center for Meditation and Well-Being, our partner for Wednesday morning Walking Meditation.   

Why is meditation important?

Meditation helps us wake up. We do this by knowing ourselves better and more profoundly.  Rather than thinking the ocean is only the waves and surface. In a similar way, who we are … our consciousness is not only the thoughts and activity at the surface of our minds. Through reflection that comes with meditation, we can know the depths and treasures that each of us possess at our inner core. Meditation is a gift we give ourselves but even more so, it is a gift, in fact, that we offer to the world.

Qalvy leads a group on a slow, mindful walk around the perimeter of the lawn.

Tell me some quantifiable results from meditating?

There are many forms of meditation so with different aims and goals there are varying benefits. I can’t speak to the benefits of all forms. I would say that stress-reduction, relaxation and deeper self-awareness are quantifiable results that accompany most meditation styles. Countless studies indicate so. Cultivating inner peace, compassion and gratitude, and greater capacity to deal with, for lack of a better word, difficult people in life, are additional benefits that I think with time can be seen in a tangible way. Each individual is unique and the benefits will be equally unique to each person who practices meditation.

Imagine starting your day with important self-care in a beautiful environment.

What impact has meditation had in your life?

For me, meditation is something that began as a sedentary activity but has blossomed into something more. Finding inner stillness helps me to make sense of my life each step along the way and allows for moments of precious insight and empowerment to arise. Living my daily life with these small moments of awakening, I find that when I am not sitting in formal meditation, my daily routines and encounters become, in a sense, a walking meditation. Acquiring this state of mind as often as possible, for me, cycles back into a deeper meditation when I sit, more joy, more peace and a more refreshed perspective when I’m walking.

The group meets at the Upper Terrace for introductory remarks and breathing exercises to ease into the practice. 

What would you say to someone who is interested in meditation, but is intimidated to try it?

Observing and being aware of our reactions and thoughts are so important. Feeling intimidated is a valid feeling when approaching something unknown, like meditative practice. If we break it down a bit, the ingredients of a beginning meditation are: finding a relaxed posture in a quiet atmosphere, breathing comfortably, a little bit of time and an open mind. I think most people have experience with each one of these ‘ingredients’, so there is nothing truly foreign about the practice. What sort of experience each one of us ‘cooks’ with these ingredients can be different, unique and equally wonderful.  Especially with guided meditation, there is an added layer of comfort and support that you can rely on with a meditation guide helping the process to unfold in a meaningful way.

Walking Meditation
with the Shinnyo Center for Meditation and Well-Being
June 3 - September 30
Wednesdays, 8:30am - 9am
Upper Terrace Gravel, across from the Bryant Park Cafe

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NYPL Fountains Restored

Recent visitors to the Fifth Avenue Terrace may have noticed a dramatic change to the fountains in front of the New York Public Library. After 30 years, the dry fountains are again operating. Beauty and Truth, the names of the two fountains, rejoin Patience and Fortitude, the NYPL lions that guard the front entrance, as library icons.

Below, enjoy excerpts from a New York Times article about the fountains' restoration. Photos are our own.

Truth, on the northern side of the NYPL entrance...
and Beauty, on the southern side.

...After three dry decades, water began flowing again this week in the grand fountains flanking the main entrance of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue.

Since then, passers-by have been drawn to the sound and sight of water at the fountains, adorned by allegorical figures of Beauty and Truth. The water pours forth from the mouth of a satyrs’ mask into a giant scallop shell and then cascades from basin to basin to basin to basin...

Behind Patience, on the south, is a fountain showing Beauty as a young woman, by the sculptor Frederick MacMonnies. She stands with the horse Pegasus, symbolizing poetic inspiration, under an inscription taken from “The Shadow and the Light,” by John Greenleaf Whittier:

Old yet ever new
Eternal Voice
and Inward Word.

Behind Fortitude, on the north, is the fountain of Truth, shown by MacMonnies as an old man, with a physique somewhat reminiscent of the sculptor’s notorious “Civic Virtue,” now residing in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. His inscription comes from the Apocrypha:

But above all things
beareth away
the victory.

...That finally came in the form of a gift from the charitable trust of the philanthropist Robert W. Wilson, who committed suicide in 2013. He gave about $90 million to the library during his lifetime.

A spokeswoman for the library said she could not disclose the dollar amount of the gift for the fountains, under an agreement with the trust.

In any case, it was enough to buy entirely new mechanisms — pipes, pumps, drains and filtration controls — manufactured in Florida by Delta Fountains, which was also responsible for the waterfalls at the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center...

Identical plaques in front of each of the fountains commemorates the donor who made the restoration possible. 

The water's glassy surface and pleasant bubbling make the Library Terrace a lovely place to sit and stay awhile.

We hope that the fountains will be enjoyed for years to come!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Reading Room Cliffs Notes: Week of July 20

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 to Poetry with Poetry Society of America 
Caroline Randall Williams reads a selection of her original works 
Over 100 people came out Tuesday night to hear the Poets of the Poetry Society of America read some of their latest works. Caroline Randall Williams,whose first collection of Poetry, Lucy Negro Redux, just came out in June, started off the night with a high energy, while Patricia Smith, author of six critically- acknowledged works of poetry closed the night with powerful poems about current societal issues.

Foreshadowing for the Week of July 20

12:30am: Reel Talks- Westerns in Film 
Lively and entertaining commentary on Picnic at Hanging Rock
With resident film expert Scott Adlerberg and Author Megan Abbott

10:30am: StoryTime
Cali Co Cat with tails, meowsic, and arts & crafts to boot!

12:30pm: HSBC Sustainability 
Gentlemen Bankers
Susie Pak, Gentlemen Bankers: The World of J.P. Morgan
Hosted by Mary Pilon, The Monopolists

7:00pm: Word for Word Poetry welcomes Song Cave Press
Featuring the Poets on Song Cave Press:
Jae Choi
Thomas Meyer
Emily Hunt
Hannah Brooks-Motl

12:30pm: Word for Word Author presents Romance Authors 
Hosted by Joyce Lamb, Happy Ever After, Curator & Blogger, USA Today
Robyn Carr, Four Friends, Never Too Late
Kristan HigginsThe Best Man, In Your Dreams
Elizabeth HoytDearest Rogue
Beverly JenkinsFor Your Love, Destiny's Captive
Susan Elizabeth PhillipsHeroes Are My Weakness
Meredith WildHardwired 

Gotta love it! Harlequin, Avon, and Forever authors dish on their best-selling romance novels.
The first person to say "Romance Authors" to the Reading Room Coordinator at the event will win a free copy of the book.

7:00pm: Word for Word Non-Fiction presents Martha Hodes, Mourning Lincoln 
Martha Hodes, Mourning Lincoln 

Produced in partnership with New-York Historical Society

7pm: Word for Word Writers Short Story 1.0
Pen your own story, poem, or screenplay, at writers workshops guaranteed to improve and perfect.
Pre-registration required. 
Facilitated by Miranda McLeod, MFA, NYU

12:00pm: Word for Word Kids
Erin Lee and the Up Past Bedtime Band