Set smack in the middle of Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park is a refreshing island of green and a banner of revitalization in Midtown.
Originally designed as a classical French-style commons in the 1930s, the park fell to disrepair over the years, becoming a crime hub and an eyesore by 1975. Many kept faith in its potential, however, including the Rockefeller Brothers, who in the 1980s established a nonprofit corporation with the goal of restoring its former purpose. Clever urban planners envisioned a public space that could be financially self-sustaining and add value to the neighborhood. After a decade of design and renovation, the modern Bryant Park opened in 1992.
Today, the park packs a wealth of activities into a consolidated and well-kept urban oasis. On any given workday the tables and lawn are enjoyed by businessmen and women on their lunch breaks, while evenings and weekends remain popular for spending free time.
The park offers more than 30 games, including chess, ping pong, pétanque, putting, kubb, dominoes, backgammon, and other board games. All game stations are organized and staffed, but are free for public use. Fitness and hobby lessons are available for free as well, like tai chi, fencing, yoga, fly fishing juggling, knitting, and even language learning. Other family-friendly attractions include an arts and crafts area, carrousel, reading room, restaurant, café, food kiosks, and ice skating in the winter. The New York Public Library is conveniently accessible from the park as well.
In addition to the games and other attractions offered every day, Bryant Park also hosts special events year round. Concerts, drama, Broadway musicals, dances, big-screen movies, world music, art shows, professional ice skating, and street performers are just small samples of the entertainment you are likely to find here.
Visit BryantPark.org for schedules and registration information for all games, classes, and special events.