Bryant Park
Little Park, Big History

bryant park-new york

After becoming public property in the 1600s, the area now known as Bryant Park was converted into a potter’s field in 1823. The city decommissioned it after 17 years to build a reservoir. This reservoir was a great engineering triumph for 19th-century America. The City Council eventually wanted a public park built nearby, and it was constructed in 1870. It was not until 1884 that the park earned its current moniker. This was done in dedication to poet/editor William Cullen Bryant. In the 1920s, the northern half of the park was closed off due to subway construction. The original reservoir was demolished in 1900. After a period of serious decline, the Rockefellers established a Restoration Corporation. By the 1990s, their efforts had reduced crime by 92% and doubled the number of visitors. The end of the millennium saw the creation of a “formal French garden” flair for the park’s style.

Today, Bryant Park contains a bevy of things to do on its huge Lawn and the nearby paths. Hungry? Try out the lovely Bryant Park Grill/Cafe with its seasonal patio tables. Most people know that the largest branch of the New York Public Library is right next door. And on any given day, you can join a stranger for a spirited game of chess or “petanque.” Entertain your entire family with a ride on Le Carrousel. Sit down with a book in the outdoor reading area. During the summer, attend free movie screenings. Or during the colder months, explore many shops and eateries at the park’s Winter Village. It’s also good to keep an eye on Bryant Park in the news to stay abreast of live performances held there. Most of these are completely free to enjoy!

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1065 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10018


(212) 768-4242


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Staten Island

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