As far back as 1686, New York’s colonial governor Thomas Dongan designated as public property the land that is now Bryant Park. Officially dedicated in 1842, it was not until New York City’s powerful parks commissioner, Robert Moses, undertook to rescue and redesign the park in 1930 that the park took its present shape. Under Moses the redesign saw a classical scheme of a large central lawn, formal pathways, stone balustrades, and borders of London plane trees, together with an oval plaza, containing the Lowell Fountain, at the west end, separated from Sixth Avenue by a broad flight of steps.
Situated behind the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan, between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues, the Moses redesigned park was initially very popular with Midtown workers and residents. By the seventies, however, Bryant Park gave way to neglect and was home to drug dealers, muggers and vagrants.
In 1980 the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation was formed with the goal of revitalizing the park. The BPRC built new entrances for increased visibility from the street, enhanced the formal French garden design, and improved and repaired paths and lighting. BPRC’s plan also included restoration of the park’s monuments, and renovation of its long-closed restrooms. In 1992 the park reopened to lavish praise.
Today lunch hours in warm weather months can see over 5,000 business people using the park. Among the amenities available to visitors are a French-style carousel, a boule board, chess tables, free yoga classes, over 25,000 varieties of flowers, the Bryant Park Grill, as well as 2,000 moveable chairs.
And now in winter months, Bryant Park offers ice skating. Skating is free, but skate rentals cost $7.50 for a 90-minute session. You can also take private lessons: Private lessons cost $25 for 20 minutes. Semi-private lessons for groups of 2-4 skaters cost $35 for the group and last 20 minutes. Group skating lessons for all ages and skill levels are available Saturday mornings from 9:30am-10:45am.
And after skating (or instead of skating), venture over to the Ice Café for great specialities such as crêpes or chocolate fondue ($15). You'll feel transported away from the hustle and bustle of Midtown and in another world!
Admission And Tickets
Park admission: Free
Entry ticket: Free
Skate rental: $7.50
Locker rental: $4.00
Locker with lock: $5.00
Bag check: $5.00
Helmet rental: $1.00
No "ins and outs".
Telephone: (212) 768-4242
Address: 40th Street at Sixth Avenue
- to 42nd Street/Bryant Park
- to 5th Avenue
Hours And Additional Info
7:00 am to 7:00 pm
The Ice Café is available for private events as well as for romantic dinners, business lunches, or festive parties overlooking the Pond. For information about catering or parties please call 212-206-8815.
Free Wireless Internet Access:
1. Configure your Wireless card to the following:
Network name/SSID – bryantpark.org
Mode – Infrastructure
Authentication – Open
Encryption/WEP – Disabled
2. Configure your Network settings to:
All TCP/IP options – DHCP or Auto
3. Configure your Web Browser so it is NOT set to use a proxy server