In this post, BPC’s archivist Anne Kumer, shares a piece of the park’s rich history.
In 1983 the Bryant Park Corporation retained landscape architecture firm Hanna / Olin Ltd., now The Olin Studio, for the re-design of Bryant Park. Over the next several years, plans were drafted and the park began its transition into a beautiful, well used public space.
Concurrent with Bryant Park’s facelift, the New York Public Library embarked on a large construction project of its own: the addition of 120,000 square feet of library stacks beneath the surface of the Bryant Park lawn.
Requiring a 30 foot excavation in the center of the park, the finished stacks accommodate up to 3.2 million books and 500,000 reels of microfilm, doubling the library’s storage capacity. The stacks are connected to the main library by a 62 foot long tunnel. Additionally, there is a fire escape on the west side of the Bryant Park lawn, disguised by a dedication plaque.