Friday, February 27, 2015

Looking Back: Bank of America Winter Village

It's been an incredible season at Bank of America Winter Village, from the days when the air was still warm and the trees were green, to the "great" snowfall of storm Juno. The Holiday Shops brought energy and warmth to the park through the holidays, and The Rink provided hours of entertainment for kids and adults. Thanks to Bank of America's sponsorship of Winter Village, Bryant Park was vibrant throughout New York City's colder months. Below is a photographic look back at the park through the 2014-2015 season. 

First days of the rink: the sun is shining and the trees are still green.
Photo credit: Angelito Jusay Photography

The soft glow of the Holiday Shops lights up the night.
Photo credit: Colin Miller Photography

Two adorable trick-or-treaters make their way through Winter Village. 
Photo credit: Bryant Park Instagram

A not-so-average view from the roof of the New York Public Library.
Photo credit: Colin Miller Photography

Meet me at the Bryant Park Tree.
Photo credit: Colin Miller Photography

Bryant Park's Christmas Tree presides over The Rink.
Photo credit: Colin Miller Photography

Santa Claus, his elves, and a few carolers parade through Winter Village. 
Photo credit: Colin Miller Photography

The Harlem Globetrotters stopped by to wrap presents with Santa Claus.
Photo credit: Bryant Park Instagram

Selfies by the Christmas Tree.
Photo credit: Colin Miller Photography

Quite possibly this year's biggest attraction, the #BPFrozenFountain.
Photo credit: Bryant Park Corporation

Around and around they go at The Rink. 
Photo credit: Colin Miller Photography

A bird's eye view of The Rink.
Photo credit: Colin Miller Photography

No matter what time of year, the park furniture always looks great.
Photo credit: Bryant Park Corporation

A new addition to The Rink this year: Skate Aids for kids!
Photo credit: Angelito Jusay Photography

 The Simulacrum Society of Yore held their annual Ice Ball at Bank of America Winter Village.
Photo credit: Bryant Park Instagram

After storm Juno hit it was all hands on deck for Bryant Park Operations staff.
Photo credit: Bryant Park Corporation

Despite the heavy snow fall, Bryant Park Jugglers were not about to miss a day.
Photo credit: Bryant Park Corporation

People of all ages enjoy playing in the snow, especially in Bryant Park.
Photo credit: Bryant Park Corporation

Do you want to build a snowman? 
Photo credit: Bryant Park Corporation

A small bird awaits spring.
Photo credit: Bryant Park Corporation

Bank of America Winter Village will be closing at 10pm on March 1, 2015. Many thanks to Bank of America for their generous sponsorship of Winter Village!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bryant Park Contributes over $15,000 to Community Parks Initiative

Last fall, the NYC Parks Department announced its Community Parks Initiative (CPI), a plan to rebuild 35 under-resourced community parks within New York City through a combination of partnerships, capital investment, and programming and maintenance. Bryant Park worked closely with the Parks department to explore funding opportunities for this equity initiative.

The Bryant Park Shop makes it easy to support CPI--every dollar from the sale of NYC Parks merchandise on our website is given to CPI. Even better, we are the only online shop that sells those specific NYC Parks items (otherwise, you'd have to purchase in-person at The Arsenal in Central Park, home to the NYC Parks Department).

In December, one dollar from every ride on Le Carrousel was donated to CPI.

The result? We've been able to give over $15,000 to CPI in just a few short months. So shop away, and support a worthy cause!

This map shows the locations of community parks and neighborhoods in all five boroughs that will be served by the new initiative.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

People Watch at Bryant Park

Bryant Park fans know that one of the park's signatures is our 4,000 pieces of movable furniture. Our bistro chairs also bear their own interesting personal histories, and are the perfect perch from which to observe others' personal histories unfolding. Simply put, Bryant Park is one of the premiere people-watching spots in the city.

We're not the only ones who think so, either!

Bill Cunningham, photographer of street style for the New York Times, has been photographing the fashions and people in Bryant Park for years. Though he typically photographs people, one of his favorite Bryant Park characters is our magnificent Josephine Shaw Lowell Fountain, which has already appeared in two of his photo essays in 2015 alone.

Bill Cunningham enjoys a spring lunchtime stroll in 2003. Next time you're in the park, look out for his signature blue jacket. 
Over the summer, Humans of New York also stopped by the park. True to the blog's format, the photos of New Yorkers are accompanied by poignant snippets of their conversation with the photographer. The subjects' fascinating and wildly different personal histories, ranging from a thoughtful doctor, to a loving mother, to an aspiring track star, show that Bryant Park is a true melting pot.

The following interview, taken from Humans of New York, took place at the Reading Room. 
"If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?"
"Well, I’m a Christian, so I’d say love one another."

Bryant Park has many French influences, from our manicured lawn, to Le Carrousel, to the bistro chairs throughout the park. And now we can add one more French idea to the list, one that is constantly in the park, though invisible to the naked eye: the concept of being a flâneur, or "a man of leisure, an idler, an urban explorer." In other words, a people watcher!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fondly Remembering Signature Winter Village Events

We made memories to last a lifetime during this year's Bank of America Winter Village. Time has flown and we can't believe that there is only one week left in the season! The final day to skate and dine at Winter Village is Sunday, March 1. Thankfully, we'll have the memories forever. Here is a look back at some of the signature Winter Village events.

The Winter Village season kicked off in high style with the Tree Lighting. With headliner Ingrid Michaelson and featuring skating performances by Olympians and synchronized skaters, the ceremony drew thousands of guests to the park. Bank of America presented a check in the amount of $6 million to (RED), which aims to end mother-to-child HIV transmission. The spectacular ceremony ended with Santa himself lighting the tree.

Singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, who performed songs off her new album as well as winter standards.
Photo: Angelito Jusay.
Olympic medalist Evan Lysacek skated beautifully through a fine mist.
Photo: Angelito Jusay.

The Tree Lighting concluded with our 50-foot Norwegian spruce donning over 30,000 LED lights.
Photo: Angelito Jusay.

Santa's Corner was a brand-new addition to the Winter Village lineup. For a week leading up to Christmas, hundreds of park visitors had the opportunity to pose with the man of the hour, Santa.

Guests could use their own device to snap a photo, or a park representative snapped a photo with a professional camera. Enjoy Santa's Corner photos on our Flickr page

Winter Carnival gave us something to look forward in the post-holiday season. This late January event featured a silent disco, summer skate, ice golf, hockey shoot outs, curling lessons, a Brew House, and much more. We are already looking forward to next season's Winter Carnival.

The Bryant Park jugglers lit up the night with glow-in-the-dark clubs.
Photo: Phillip Angert.

The Brew House created a German-style beer house, fully stocked with food, drink, long wood tables, and heat lamps.
Photo: Phillip Angert.

The silent disco capped off the last evening of Winter Carnival. Over 500 people simultaneously danced to music spun by three different DJs.
Photo: Phillip Angert.

And don't forget, there is one more signature event to enjoy at Winter Village. The Special Olympics Skating Showcase, co-hosted by Johnny Weir, is tomorrow at 6pm, and will feature performances from Special Olympians and Olympic medalists alike.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Special Olympics Skating Showcase Returns to the Rink

One of the highlights of our end-of-season activities at Bank of America Winter Village is the Special Olympics Skating Showcase. Join us on Tuesday, February 24, at 6pm for a showcase of skating talent from Special Olympians and professionals alike!

The event will be co-hosted by Olympic medalist and personality Johnny Weir. Ashley Wagner, U.S. National Champion, will perform. John Coughlin and Caydee Denney, who wowed the crowd with their pairs skate at our Tree Lighting, will return to The Rink for more high-flying lifts, and athletes from Special Olympics New York will show their skills on the ice.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin return after their dazzling Tree Lighting performance.
Photo: Angelito Jusay

An athlete shows his finesse on ice at last year's Skating Showcase. 

Bank of America Special Olympics Skating Showcase
Tuesday, February 24
6pm - 7pm
The Rink

*The Rink will close to the public at 4pm in preparation for the event. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

What Happens When You Order a Chair Plaque

Park aficionados know that our Bryant Park bistro chairs are an important part of the park's identity. For many people, our movable seating is the highlight of a Bryant Park visit. Our vintage bistro chairs (available a la carte or as a set) are available for purchase.

The bistro chairs are lovely, but they are even more lovely when adorned with a plaque. Look around the park and you'll notice nearly 1,000 chairs that have special messages on them, ranging from commemorations of a life well-lived, to a memento of the place where a couple met the first time. We understand how meaningful chair plaques are, so we take the process very seriously.

Chair plaques have meaningful messages on them. 
When you order a chair plaque on our online shop, the order is processed by the Bryant Park staff. After the plaque has been checked for spelling and quality, it is installed by our park staff on a chair in good condition. After all, the plaques are guaranteed to be in the park for at least a year, so the chair must be able to last that long! 

Richard from the park staff works to install and polish chair plaques. 
We snap a photo and send it to whomever purchased the plaque. Many people want to visit the chair in the park, and then we work with purchasers so they can enjoy the chair in person. For an additional fee, the chair with plaque can also be purchased.

We take a photo so you have a memento of the chair plaque. 
Now, next time you're in the park and are touched by a chair plaque inscription, you know exactly how the plaque came to be.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bryant Park Luminaires Launch Event Recap

Last week, we celebrated the kickoff event of Bryant Park Luminaires, the park's brand-new young professionals group. The event featured a pre-skate at the Bank of America Winter Village Rink, followed by a 2 hour open bar and networking at Celsius. The event welcomed approximately 150 young professionals into the Bryant Park community.

If you weren't able to join us last week, Luminaires will be hosting monthly events. The next, on March 18, will center around March Madness. Check the Bryant Park Luminaires Facebook page for details as they emerge.

For more information, please visit the Luminaires page on our website.

Luminaires events are a great way to deepen your involvement at the park...
Photo: Angelito Jusay
...or just to meet new people!
Photo: Angelito Jusay