Award-winning satirist Christopher Buckley is our Word for Word Author on Wednesday, and the talented directors of prestigious university creative writing programs share their original works at Word for Word Poetry on Tuesday evening at the Reading Room. Stop by the Fountain Terrace after work on Wednesday for a performance by Jeff Ellis and Kelleigh McKenzie as part of the NewSong Singer-Songwriter Series, and catch Luiz Simas on the park’s custom-made piano every day at lunchtime on the Upper Terrace. And that’s not all…visit our calendar for the full schedule of this week’s events in Bryant Park.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
I thought that the HBO Film Festival is held during weekends. Apparently it’s every Monday. So I can’t watch from June to July since I have summer classes. And my freakin schedule is from 2:30 pm until 8:00 pm (with an hour break from around 4-5 pm.) So unfair for me. Well I do get why they didn’t schedule it on Fridays. The movies come out during Fridays so it’s kinda stupid to show a movie from the past on a Friday. I wanna watch Dog Day Afternoon pa naman.
We open the lawn at 5pm but the movies don’t start until after sunset (generally around 8:30 to 9pm in the summer) so it’s dark enough to see them projected on the screen. Depending on where your classes are you could probably make it! Don’t worry about the lawn being too crowded, there are a lot of other great spots to watch from in the park.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Image from The New York Times
Traffic patterns were shaken up just west of Bryant Park over the holiday weekend. Beginning on Sunday, Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Transportation closed sections of Broadway to vehicular traffic at Times Square and Herald Square. As part of the “Green Light for Midtown” project, the intention is to improve safety and traffic flow on both the streets and sidewalks of two of the city’s busiest areas.
Every New Yorker has probably experienced the crush of pedestrians in Times Square and Herald Square since both areas are top tourist destinations for shopping and sightseeing. Combined with a high volume of cars, trucks, buses, and bicycles, the situation was getting sticky. The city’s decision to expand pedestrian access into the streets has drawn mixed reactions from pedestrians and motorists as The New York Times reflected in it’s coverage of the first full day of closure and in yesterday’s article on the closure’s effects on the first workday after the long weekend.
Banning vehicles from these stretches of Broadway is the beginning of a multi-step process towards creating new open plazas for the public to enjoy. What else does the future hold for these spaces? In addition to new road surfacing, furniture, and greenery, you can definitely expect to see public programs and events from the two Business Improvement Districts involved in the project. The 34th Street Partnership will cover the area from 35th to 33rd Streets, and the Times Square Alliance from 47th to 42nd Streets.
The renderings below are approximations of how Herald Square (left) and Times Square (right) will look when the project is completed in August.
Renderings from DOT’s website
We’re excited to see what we can learn from these new public spaces and will be keeping an eye on the progress as it unfolds.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The week is short but the days are long. This week in the park get your jazz fix with Deanna Witkowski playing on the park’s custom made piano every day at lunchtime, and stop by after work at 6pm for classical music Tuesday in the Reading Room, and talented singer-songwriters on Wednesday on the Fountain Terrace. Plus, we’ve got poetry, tai chi, yoga, and more. Visit our calendar for all the details.
Monday, May 25, 2009
For the history buffs out there, here’s a glimpse of Bryant Park from 1935.
The photo has you looking west toward 6th Avenue from a vantage point near the southern end of the back of the New York Public Library. To your left is the pathway we refer to as the 40th Street Allee, now fully covered by a canopy of branches and leaves from the trees, and to your right is the lawn, now bordered by gravel instead of stone. The center balustrade should look familiar, as well as the fountain that you can see in the far right of the frame, under the classic Coca Cola billboard. This design of the park was conceptualized by architect Lusby Simpson and implemented by Parks Department Commissioner and public-works “czar”, Robert Moses during the Great Depression.
Below left, an aerial shot dated 1931, of Bryant Park’s original design by architect Thomas Hastings. Below right, a view of Simpson’s redesign from above, 1939.
Visit our website for a more in depth look at the park’s evolution through the ages.
Friday, May 22, 2009
I’m usually ogling the Zara windows on my way to the park (hello, gorgeous navy scarf & fabulous white gladiators), but you can almost always spot some Zara in its natural city habitat:
Friends lunching in Bryant Park: Melissa’s wearing a Zara cardigan and a cute summer dress she bought in Europe; Sachin, visiting from Montreal, is wearing vintage cowboy boots, Levi’s, an American Apparel T-shirt and an Energie belt.
Zara, 500 Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
Shop Bryant Park is written by Fashion Herald, our retail blogger.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
It’s Fleet Week in New York City, so don’t be surprised if you see a lot of uniforms roaming around town. We caught these Marines strolling through Bryant Park and they were kind enough to pose for a photo:
Ben, Andrew, Steve, and JD, from the USS Iwo Jima, told us they were in the park “checking out the shrubbery.” We know our plants are lovely, guys, but the people watching is pretty good too.
Enjoy your time in the city, gentlemen!
A fashionista captured this colorful picture in the park yesterday for her blog. The striped top of Le Carrousel looks so beautiful speckled with sunlight, peeking out from the background. Combined with the lush gardens, you’ve got the perfect backdrop for any outfit. Nice shot!
WhatIWore: Through the magic of the interwebs I had the good fortune of starting up a friendship with Christine, who runs the fashion savvy blog - Style Pill. We meet up for lunch in midtown to talk about our blogs, our boys and our lives in general. Awesome right? Well, Christine is launching a Daily Outfit portion to her blog and I commend her on it. She braved the bystanding stares as I snapped this cute picture of her in Bryant Park! (Trust me, taking pictures of yourself in public is no easy feat) I think she looks rad in her mixmatched patterns and ultra faded jean jacket. For more daily outfits, check back to Christine’s blog!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Are you a fan of no pants subway rides? Fascinated by viral videos of a ‘frozen’ Grand Central Station?
Come hear from Charlie Todd, the man behind the madness and creator of NYC’s Improv Everywhere, today at 12:30pm in the Reading Room. He’ll be speaking about his new book, Causing a Scene, Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places with Improv Everywhere,and taking audience questions as part of BP’s Word for Word Author program.
If you can’t make it to the event but have a burning question for Charlie Todd, let us know on Twitter @BryantParkNYC before 12:30pm. We’ll ask him some of the best questions we get!
Update: A Twitter follower wanted to know where Charlie Todd got the idea for the ‘High Five Escalator’ prank. His answer: it stemmed from Improv Everywhere’s goal to bring some fun and smiles to situations that may generally make people unhappy. High fives on your morning commute = good start to the day!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
If you passed by the Fountain Terrace last Wednesday between 6 and 7:30pm you probably noticed Japanese Gypsy Rock band, Kagero, playing live to a large crowd drawn in by the upbeat music.
For a second consecutive year we’re working with NewSong, an independent music organization, to bring talented and emerging singer-songwriters to perform in Bryant Park for the evening crowd. NewSong was created by Gar Ragland, who fosters a wonderful community of musicians through workshops, festivals, contests, a recording label, and more. Click here for some beautiful videos and original songs from last summer’s performances, put together by Gar and his team.
This season’s line-up for the Bryant Park After Work NewSong Singer-Songwriter Series (say that three times fast) is already promising to be as exciting as last summer’s.
The best thing about these concerts is that we won’t charge you a cover fee and there’s no crowded, sweaty club to deal with - just stop by on your way home from work (or on your way to happy hour) and enjoy some great music, stress free.
Tomorrow’s roster is jam-packed. Maureen Andary and her songwriting partner Sara Curtin will bring you some 1930’s inspired jazz and blues, followed by Chuck Costa’s contemporary folk songs and emotive lyrics. If you’re lucky, Maureen may spill some secrets on what it’s like to work for the park…about four years ago, before embarking on her music career, she was a member of the Events Department at BPC!
Remember: NewSong Singer-Songwriter Series, Wednesdays through June 24 on the Fountain Terrace (6th Avenue side of the park) from 6-7:30pm. Great music, great setting, stress free.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
There’s something for everyone coming up this week in the park. Highlights include Piano in Bryant Park, featuring Terry Waldo Monday through Friday, the first Word for Word Poetry event of the season on Tuesday evening, and Improv Everywhere’s Charlie Todd, Wednesday in the Reading Room. As usual, we’ve also got yoga, tai chi, birds, music, and more. Visit our calendar for all the details of this week’s events.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Sometimes something small is all you need to start the day off right. We arrived in the office this morning to an email from Craig, Bryant Park Corporation’s Vice President of Capital Projects, to help spice up our Friday morning inboxes:
This morning I saw a small finch just sitting on the sidewalk at Broadway and 41st Street. People walked right past and over the little bugger. I got a cup from a coffee vendor and the bird walked up to the cup and sat on the rim. I took him into the Park, where he hopped off the cup and onto a park chair. As soon as I got him to a nice place with lots of shrubs and other birds, he FLEW into the shrubs. The little guy wasn't hurt at all but just wanted to be in a better place!
How lucky for the bird to get picked up by someone headed right to the park! Our resident birding experts immediately identified it as a Common Yellowthroat. He even let his hero snap a few pictures on their journey together.
Who doesn’t love a story with a happy ending? And you never know, maybe we’ll see the little guy again on Monday morning’s Birding Tour in the park!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
A BPC staff member came across this cartoon on page 56 in the current issue (May 18, 2009) of The New Yorker.
Consensus in our office is that it looks an awful lot like Bryant Park - familiar tables, chairs, balustrade, office workers, and of course, the reference to the large number of people looking for seats during peak lunch hours.
But we may be biased…so what do you think? Is it BP or another Manhattan park?
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
This past winter, an ivy bed that flourished on the north side of the park for over 50 years was damaged beyond repair. Instead of re-planting the bed from scratch, we decided to recreate the space to use in a completely new and different way.
The damaged ivy bed.
The same area, after pulling out the ivy, laying a foundation topped with gravel, and adding some flowers and greenery. It’s all ready for well, that part is a surprise.
We're working with a very special club in NYC to bring a brand new activity to BP. It’s something you’ve never seen before in the park and complete with state-of-the-art equipment, we’ll be debuting the mystery activity in late May. That's all we can give away for now. Can’t wait until the end of the month? Check out the new gravel bed on the 42nd Street side of the park near 6th Avenue and see if you can predict what we’ve got up our sleeves.
Monday, May 11, 2009
See how you did below, with the clues matched up to the film fest schedule (clues in italics).
Chicago CONfidence men
June 15: THE STING
Robert Redford, Paul Newman and director George Roy Hill generate high-voltage chemistry in this light-hearted yet complex, overtly nostalgic look at 1930’s Chicago con men. Winner of seven Oscars and featuring the famous Scott Joplin piano rags. (1973)
Bicycle races truck in one scene written from director’s first hand experience
June 22: BREAKING AWAY
A teenage cyclist, Dennis Christopher, is besotted with all things Italian in a small Indiana college town. Things seem to be going nowhere for him and his townie buddies (Dennis Quaid, Jackie Earle Haley, and Daniel Stern), and he convinces them to take on the students at the Little 500 bicycle race. Flawlessly written by Steve Tesich and directed by Peter Yates. (1979)
Great Busby Berkeley musical from the same year as FDR’s New Deal
June 29: GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933
Nobody created pure Hollywood escapism productions better than Busby Berkeley, and this musical set the standard. Designed to transport Depression-enduring audiences, the plot involves attempts to put on a show, featuring Ginger Rogers, Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell as the indefatigable Broadway show girls, and Dick Powell crooning the tunes. (1933)
Hottest day of the year
July 6: DOG DAY AFTERNOON
Al Pacino plays Sonny who needs money to pay for his boyfriend’s sex-change operation and decides to rob a bank to get it. Things go wrong and he’s soon bogged down in a long, drawn-out hostage situation. Sidney Lumet directed this gritty, darkly humorous drama set in Brooklyn on the hottest day of the year. (1975)
One film beat out the ‘best movie ever made’ in a tight Oscar race
July 13: HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY
Winner of the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars (over “Citizen Kane”), this beautiful film is about a close-knit family in a Welsh mining village. John Ford directed the story, told through the eyes of a young Roddy McDowell, striking an incredible balance between moral seriousness and elegy. (1941)
Hearse chasing May-December romance
July 20: HAROLD AND MAUDE
Teenager Bud Cort and sexagenarian Ruth Gordon both like to go to funerals of people they don’t know, and meet to embark on one of cinema’s great relationships. Audacious and heartbreaking, Hal Ashby’s superb black comedy also features a perfect soundtrack by Cat Stevens. (1971)
They couldn’t like each other less. They couldn’t need each other more. Starring TC & SP
July 27: THE DEFIANT ONES
Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis are opposites unhappily shackled together after escaping from a chain-gang in the South. As they flee from the police, director Stanley Kramer showcases the humorous and moving situations featuring memorable characters the fugitives come across as they fight for their lives. (1958)
2nd youngest Oscar nominee stars in this drama
August 3: KRAMER VS. KRAMER
Dustin Hoffman won an Oscar for his role as a father who will go to any length (even making French toast) to keep custody of his son. Meryl Streep is unmatched as his icy wife who walks out on him and returns to claim the boy, who is played by Oscar nominee Justin Henry. Robert Benton directs one of best acted films of the decade. (1979)
What would you do for a $20 double eagle? This one features more stars than any other picture in the line-up
August 10: THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
One of the most beloved Westerns of all time with one of the greatest scores of all time (by Elmer Bernstein). Seven mercenaries, including Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, and Charles Bronson are hired to protect a Mexican village under siege by large group of bandits led by Eli Wallach. (1960)
I spent the night at Devil’s Tower
August 17: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND
Steven Spielberg’s scifi blockbuster stars Richard Dreyfuss as a regular guy whose strange obsessions and journey turn fantastically clear at Devil’s Tower. Co-stars Teri Garr as his frustrated wife, and Francois Truffaut, the legendary French director, as a scientist seeking communication with extraterrestrials. (1977)
Lawn opens at 5pm, films begin at sunset. Visit our calendar for more information.
See you at the movies!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Know a bit about birding and find yourself wondering why some birds eschew woody forrests and vast open spaces to call Bryant Park home? Know nothing about birding but looking to pick up a new hobby?
Come to the park on Mondays at 8am, through May 25, to catch one of three tours left in our brand new program, Birding Tours of Bryant Park. We want to make things as easy as possible for you, so like all BP programs it’s free and all you need to bring is yourself!
Tours begin at Heiskell Plaza on the northwest corner of BP (by the ‘wichcraft kiosks) and are led by Gabriel Willow, an expert birder and Senior Naturalist at the New York City Audubon Society. His areas of expertise include birds, ecology, history, and horticulture. In Bryant Park, Gabriel teaches at a beginners pace and touches on all aspects of bird behavior from nesting and mating, to migration and how to recognize specific species and genders.
Small group sizes allow participants to ask questions, share anecdotes, and even receive one on one tutorials on the proper way to use binoculars (yep, those are provided for you!). Over the past few sessions, BP birders have identified a total of 11 different migratory species, not including the park’s resident pigeons and three kinds of sparrows. Who knew so many types of birds were hanging out in midtown?
Don’t be shy - come join the group and learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the birds in Bryant Park. You can catch the remaining tours on Monday mornings, 8am - 9:15am, through May 25.
Still don’t think birding’s your thing? We’ve also got tai chi, yoga, evening music, a lunch time author series, and more, all coming up this week! Visit our calendar for details.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
No amount of rain last Thursday could stop the InterContinental Hotels Group’s World’s Biggest Bed Jump from being one of the most fun, and certainly very different, events to take place in Bryant Park.
The bed looked so flawless, it’s hard to believe it was built and dressed while a torrential rain beat down on the crew who worked tirelessly through the night. A member of BPC’s fearless events staff who was on site for the build reported approximately an inch and a half of water covering the ground as the crew powered on to finish by morning. Now that’s dedication!
The bed was completed, the clouds parted, and suprise celebrity guest, Olympic gold medalist, and Dancing With the Stars competitor, Shawn Johnson took to the giant mattress to perform for media and members of the public. Gymnasts from Chelsea Piers also took turns wowing the audience with flips and tricks throughout the morning.
Shawn was very friendly and gracious with fans and press. In an innovative move, she handed out bracelets printed with the phone number to call in and vote for her and partner Mark Ballas on Dancing With the Stars. We’ll definitely be voting for them!
By noon, Shawn turned the bed over to visitors who had a great time channeling their inner children and jumping to their hearts content. BPC staff members Martin (featured in the photos below) and Sarah were called upon to document the event experience for our company archives.
Jumping on a giant bed…just another day at work in Bryant Park!
Be sure to check out www.worldsbiggestbedjump.com for additional photos and video footage from the NYC event, and from the bed jumps that happened around the world in Shanghai, London, and Paris. We hope you got your chance to jump!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Did you forget to follow us on Twitter?
Don’t waste any more time because you could be one of the first to find out which movies made the list for the 17th annual HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival, presented by Time Warner Cable. The Film Festival kicks off on Monday, June 15th, but the sneak peek of the line-up happens on Twitter this Monday, May 11th at 9am.
Here’s your bottom line: sign up to follow Bryant Park on Twitter to get this year’s movie line-up before anyone else. And as a bonus, we’ll be tweeting clues to the ten classic films going up on the big screen all weekend, so stay tuned!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Normal routine doesn’t take you by Bryant Park? Tomorrow’s the day to make a detour and visit the World’s Biggest Bed Jump on BP’s Fountain Terrace!
InterContinental Hotels Group is bringing giant beds to Shanghai, Paris, London, and most importantly, New York City. Thousands of people will take turns jumping worldwide…and you could be one of them.
Plus, a surprise celebrity will be on site to kick off the festivities.
Intrigued? Come to the Fountain Terrace (6th Ave at 41st St) tomorrow, Thursday, May 7, from 12 - 3pm to be part of the celebration.
Check out www.worldsbiggestbedjump.com for updated info and images of the beds around the world.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Amanda Gordon wrote a great piece about yesterday’s event in the Bryant Park Reading Room. Click the link above for the article, photos, and an audio clip of P.S. 3 student Zaileak Decastro’s outstanding original poem “Ode to Chicken”. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to enjoy a day of poetry under the trees!