Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ask Bryant Park: Why Is The Lawn Closed Sometimes?

In the Ask Bryant Park series, we hope to shed light on some of the questions that members of the public frequently pose to us about the park. If you have a question you'd like us to cover in this series, write it on the bottom of this post or e-mail us at 

One of the best features of the park is our emerald green lawn. This season, we've kept you updated on the lawn's life cycle, from installation to opening day. In this post, we explain why the lawn is sometimes closed. It can be confusing to see the lawn closed on a gorgeous day, but rest assured it's not without good reason!

We want the lawn to stay soft and green all summer long. If we don't protect the lawn when it is vulnerable, it will not withstand the demands of the summer and will die within a few weeks--it is, after all, a living organism. We've seen this kind of lawn deterioration firsthand in previous summers and it is not pretty.

We want the lawn to look like this all the time. We haven't always been as good at maintaining the lawn as we are now.
For example, this was the lawn in May 2003...
...and this was the lawn by August 2003. The lawn loses much of its charm when it's dry, patchy, and brown! 
Keeping in mind that the lawn is best when it's green, here are the circumstances under which we close the lawn:

1) When it's wet. Moisture from rainfall and sprinklers softens the lawn, making it more delicate and prone to ripping under thousands of feet. We keep the lawn closed until it has dried sufficiently to withstand use by our visitors.

2) For maintenance. The lawn occasionally needs to be mowed or aerated, two tasks that are much easier to do (and safer--think of the heavy machinery involved!) without guests on the lawn. When the lawn is fertilized, the chemicals need time to be absorbed into the ground--not the bottom of your shoes!

3) For rest. Before and after large weekly events like the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival, which can draw over 10,000 people, the lawn is closed. This helps the lawn be resilient all summer and recover faster from times of heavy use. Just imagine how you'd feel if you didn't sleep for weeks!

If you want to know if the lawn is open or closed, visit our homepage. On the top left below "Today in the Park," you'll see the lawn message that tells you whether the lawn is open or closed. If you want a high-tech solution, check out our webcam--you can see the lawn in real time (and pick out your spot!).

We hope this post takes the mystery out of the lawn schedule!



  1. Does watering the lawn also happen during the day, or do some of these activities happen at night when the park is closed to the public? Also, do watering and mowing happen consecutively (or at least within short time periods of the other)?

    If the lawn is closed for these activities, does everything else function as normal? (Still crowds/activities around the park?) Thanks, need info for a book I'm writing.

    1. Hi Erica,

      There are several reasons why we might close the lawn during the day, and watering/lawn maintenance is one of them. Even if the lawn is closed, we still have thousands of people in the park, enjoying our amenities, sitting on our 4500 pieces of movable furniture, enjoying lunch, and more!