Bryant Park is a 9.603 acre (39,000 m²) privately managed public park located in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan. Although technically the main building of the New York Public Library is located within the park, effectively it forms the park's functional eastern boundary, making Sixth Avenue the park's primary entrance.
Although part of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Bryant Park is managed by a private not-for-profit corporation, the Bryant Park Corporation (see below). The park is cited as a model for the success of public-private partnerships. Bryant Park is built entirely over an underground structure which houses the New York Public Library's archives. In the 1980s, the park was closed to the public and excavated. The new library facilities were built below ground level and the park was restored above it.
Bryant Park Today:
Bryant Park is one of the signature examples of New York City's revival in the 1990s. With a minimum of crime, the park is filled with office workers on sunny weekdays, city visitors on the weekends, and revelers during the holidays. Daily attendance counts often exceed 800 people per acre, making it the most densely occupied urban park in the World. In 1995, an article about midtown office workers who had found the newly reopened park a good place to go to after work bore the headline "Town Square of Midtown."
In the early 2000s, BPRC added a custom-built carousel and revived the tradition of an open-air library, The Reading Room, which also hosts literary events. The Bryant Park Grill and Bryant Park Cafe have become popular after-work spots, and 'wichcraft, the sandwich chain owned by Tom Colicchio, operates four kiosks on the park's west end. In the 40th Street plaza of the park there is a station called Bryant Park Games where visitors can play an array of games including Chinese Chess and Quoits. In the summer of 2002, the park launched the free Bryant Park Wireless Network, making the park the first in New York City to offer free Wi-Fi access to visitors. Improvements in 2008 significantly increased the number of users who could log-on at a given time.
With security largely in the hands of the Business Improvement District, corporate control of the park has meant that amenities catering to white-collar professionals have been encouraged, while those that might cater to a broader urban public have been notably absent.
One of the park's most impressive features is a large lawn that is the longest expanse of grass in Manhattan south of Central Park. Besides serving as a "lunchroom" for midtown office workers and a place of respite for tired pedestrians, the lawn also serves as the seating area for some of the park's major events, such as the HBO/Bryant Park Summer Film Festival. The lawn's season since 2005 has lasted from shortly after the fall fashion shows in February until October, when it is closed to make way for Citi Pond, the park's ice skating rink.
During the lawn's season, it is open on most days, closing only for regular maintenance, to drain after a heavy rain, or to recover after high-impact events. From 1992 through 2009, the lawn's season was interrupted for three weeks in September by the spring fashion shows. In September 2010, the fashion shows moved to a new home at Lincoln Center, and the lawn reclaimed these three warm-weather weeks.