New York City Guide

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Bryant Park

Bryant Park, is located at the intersection of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue and to the rear of the Public Library. The park, is a pleasant and popular escape from the busy roads and large buildings that surrounded it. The park's design is a simple one consisting of a 3 acre central lawn, surrounded by trees, totalling about 8 acres in all. From the park can be viewed some interesting buildings, including the former American Radiator Building.

The site, where Bryant Park and the New York Public Library now stands, was once the site of the Croton reservoir and a public square aptly named, Reservoir Square. In 1884 the square was renamed Bryant Park, in honour of the poet and lawyer, William Cullen Bryant, who was one of the most influential advocates for the abolition of slavery in the United States. Bryant was also influential in the creation of Central Park.

In the mid thirties, after after many years of neglect, the park was redesigned as part of the depression era public works project. The park was constructed by Robert Moses from a design by Lusby Simpson, that introduced the great lawn bordered by hedges which obscured the park from the streets that surround it. Two years later, an iron fence was placed around the park. Unfortunately with the park area hidden from view, it became popular hangout with drug addicts, which resulted in the park being ignored by the rest of the population. Then in the 1970's the Rockefeller Brothers founded the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation which in 1988 resulted in a partial redesign and restoration aimed at reclaiming the space back for the benefit of the general public. Bryant Park was re-opened in 1992, and is now one of New York's most popular parks.

Near the west entrance to Bryant Park is located the Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain, dedicated in 1912, it was designed by Charles Adams Platt and was constructed from pink granite. The fountain became the first public memorial in the city that is dedicated to a woman. In 2002 the park became the city's first "wireless park", enabling the public, assuming they have the correct wifi equipment, to connect to the Internet.

The park supports a range of activities for both locals and visitors alike. The tall, arching trees supply a pleasant shaded area during the hot summer months. Kiosks at its northwest corner offer coffee and light meals, and situated on the east side directly behind the library is the Bryant Park Grill, an indoor restaurant with outdoor dining.

During good weather, chairs are supplied throughout the park. It is possible for visitors to rent chess pieces and backgammon boards from the New York Chess and Backgammon Club.

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