Bryant Park



Block after block, much of Midtown Manhattan has a uniform feel: acres of poured concrete sidewalks and asphalt roadways pulsing with foot and vehicle traffic, and walls of stone and glass rising up on all sides. It’s such a pleasant surprise to come across Bryant Park then, an island of green in a sea of gray. Designed in the French classical style, its formalized layout feels perfectly at home and appropriate as a part of the gridded street plan, but the trees and open space at the center of the park offer a welcome respite to office workers in neighboring buildings and visitors eager to sit for a bit and relax. Towering London Plane trees shade walkways ringing the north, west, and south sides of a plush central lawn, and the rear side of the central branch of the New York Public Library borders the park to the east.


A victim of disrepair and neglect as recently as the late 1970s, the park is now a shining symbol of urban renewal. Its packed events calendar and rich amenities offer something for just about everyone (almost everything free of charge), and several notable features are aimed expressly at children. The biggest draw for us is the tiny carousel located along the park’s south side (40th Street), with its whimsical assortment of animals and charming French cabaret music. Designed and built for Bryant Park, the Le Carrousel’s scale makes it perfect for young children, and the puppet and magic shows offered most weekend afternoons only increase the appeal. We also like to visit the Reading Room, selecting a book or two enjoy while sitting in the shade.



Older children and adults will enjoy dedicated areas with ping pong tables, Pétanque courts, and board games (including backgammon and chess) to borrow and play. An art cart with a range of supplies is available for anyone to use, presenting a perfect opportunity for children to indulge creatively and create masterpieces influenced by the urban landscape around them. In the winter months, an ice skating rink appears on the central lawn, and it’s great fun to circle the rink, soaking up the skyline views as you go.

One quick note: when we visited most recently the lawn was closed to allow new sod to establish itself ahead of the busy summer months. It opened yesterday and is typically crowded with people sunbathing and picnicking. A number of dining and take away options exist both along and inside the park, but we’re partial to purchasing our picnic provisions at Murray’s Cheese in nearby Grand Central Market.


Comments (2)

July 25, 2016

[…] Central Station is an excellent stop in Midtown, perfect for packing a picnic to enjoy in nearby Bryant Park. Not in New York? Have Murray’s ship to […]

July 25, 2016

[…] Bryant Park is the ideal place for a break when spending time in Midtown. Picnic on the expansive lawn, ride the carousel, or play board games. […]

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