NYC Trip Report-Day 3

June16

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The view from our room at Wingate by Wyndham Midtown. Perfectly located within walking distance of so many attractions, the room was comfortable, the staff helpful and accommodating.

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Since 1884 Bryant Park is situated behind the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan, between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Although I love Central Park and others in the east village, Bryant has been my favourite since D discovered it whilst roaming around and killing time while I attended a media seminar in Times Square.

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The park itself invites is set up in a relaxing fashion with chairs available to pull together and face the sun.

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The perimeter of the park is as picturesque as the park itself with many historic buildings that can be viewed through the trees.

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The Bryant Park Grill features new American-style dining set against the stunning backdrop of Bryant Park. Seasonal patio and rooftop dining provide great views of the park. It is located behind the library, on Bryant Park’s Upper Terrace between 40th and 42nd Streets.

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A bronze bust can be seen just to the west of the Bryant Memorial. Sculptor Jo Davidson created a bust of the American writer Gertrude Stein in 1923, now in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Bryant Park bust is a cast made from the original.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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At the western gateway to the park is the pink granite Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain, dedicated in 1912. This was the city’s first public memorial dedicated to a woman. Lowell (1843-1905) was a social worker and founder of the Charity Organization Society. Charles Adams Platt designed the fountain.

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Pétanque is a French game of “boules” (French for balls), where each player strives to throw metal balls as close as possible to a smaller wooden ball, named the “cochonnet”. Most games are played in teams, and are staged on the gravel area near the Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street corner. Tournaments are played on the gravel paths around the Bryant Park lawn. Game strategies include “pointing” when a player throws his ball to have it roll as close to the cochonnet as possible, and “shooting” when a player aims for the ball of an opponent, hoping to move him out of a favorable spot.

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I get out my novel and perch my feet on an extra chair while D loves to linger over a New York newspaper. We pretend that we are New Yorkers.

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Since Bryant Park s right next door to the New York Public Library, we often stop in there as well. When we first visited we found the reading room that looked like it was right out of “Ghostbusters”!

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Sculptor Edward Clark Potter created the lions, which were carved in pink Tennessee marble by the Piccirilli brothers. They were later nicknamed “Patience” and “Fortitude” by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.

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The New York Public Library building was designed by John Merven Carrère and Thomas Hastings. The magnificent Beaux-Arts building sits on a terrace that was designed to elevate the building above surrounding streets, to provide gathering places for people, and to provide a setting for public sculpture.

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The fountains on either side of the library’s entrance are Truth” on the (South) side and “Beauty” on the (North). They are the works of the major American sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies.

Feeling a little peckish by this time, we find a New York deli called Ben’s. Read all about it here.

Kath’s quote: “The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.”  ― John Updike

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Love never fails.

 

 

 


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