The lawn is lush and green and the flowers change seasonally but Bryant Park is more than a garden. When you first discover it, nestled in its canyon of skyscrapers, it’s like an oasis–a refuge of peace and calm. But Bryant Park is a city park, full of historical monuments and urban amenities. The park is a social place where friends meet, eat lunch, chat, stroll, listen to music, work on the wireless network, or simply sit and think. Winter, summer, spring, and fall, New Yorkers love this park.
Today’s version of Bryant Park–with its gravel paths, green chairs, and jaunty le carrousel–is a recent invention. Though the space has been called Bryant Park since 1842, the park has had a checkered career. By 1979, it was the site of frequent muggings and drug deals and was avoided by knowledgeable New Yorkers. An almost ten-year effort, begun in 1980, transformed the park and its reputation.
The attention to detail and commitment to progressive urban planning that spurred that transformation are maintained by the Bryant Park Corporation (BPC). A non-profit corporation, BPC is responsible for everything from trimming the hedges (so that most pedestrians can easily see into the park from the adjacent sidewalks) to choosing the right size gravel for the promenades, and designing the trash bins, food kiosks, and other structures that make Bryant Park unique.
Six flower beds border Bryant Park’s Lawn to the north and south–two on the shady South side and three on the sunny North. They are planted seasonally with 100 species of woody shrubs and herbaceous perennials and 20,000 bulbs.
Along the Northern and Southern sides of the park are twin promenades bordered by London plane trees (Platanus acerifolia). This is the same species found at the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, and contributes a great deal to Bryant Park’s European feel. These trees can grow up to 120 feet in height.
Bryant Park’s Lawn, where thousands of nature-starved office workers gather for lunch on any fine weekday, is planted with a rye/fescue/bluegrass mix. The lawn is as long as a football field (300 feet) and 215 feet wide. The lawn is occasionally closed for aeration, fertilization, or protection during wet weather.