Bryant Park , located in New York City , is a 9.603 acre (39,000 m²) large green oasis and one of the most pleasant parks in Manhattan. Bryant Park is managed by a private not-for-profit corporation, the Bryant Park Corporation which is responsible for a multitude of park activities and events, as well as ongoing security, maintenance, and marketing. The central building of the New York Public Library is located the park.
The history of the Bryant Park starts in the 19th century, when it was known as Reservoir square. In 1853, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations with the New York Crystal Palace, featuring thousands of exhibitors, took place in the park. The square was used for military drills during the American Civil War. In 1884 the square was renamed Bryant Park after William Cullen Bryant, a poet and lawyer who was one of the most important advocates for abolition of slavery in the United States. In 1899 construction of the New York Public Library building began while terraces, public facilities, and kiosks were added to the park.
The park was re-designed in 1933-1934 under the leadership of Robert Moses. By the 1970s, Bryant Park had been taken over by drug dealers, prostitutes and the homeless. In the 1970s the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation was founded by the Rockefeller Brothers. This led to a privately funded redesign and restoration in 1988. In 1992, the new Bryant Park was officially reopened and became one of New York’s most popular parks. Bryant Park’s success has spread to the rest of the neighborhood as well. In the two years after its renovation, rental activity around the park increased by 60 percent In 2002 the park became the city’s first ‘wireless park’, which means you could connect wireless to the internet from anywhere in the park.
Essentially crime-free, the park is filled with office workers on sunny weekdays, city visitors on the weekends, and travelers during the holidays. Daily visitors exceed 800 people per acre, making it the most densely occupied urban park in the world
Bryant Park features five statues plus the Josephine Shaw Lowell fountain. On the east side of the park is the 1911 New York Public Library. The magnificent Beaux-Arts building was designed by Carrere & Hastings. Another building of interest is the former American Radiator building , now Bryant Park Hotel, a great 1924 skyscraper in neo-Gothic style with Art Deco ornaments. Another landmark near the Bryant Park is the 1901 Bryant Park Studios, a building on 40th street in Beaux-Arts style. Citi Pond , a free-admission ice skating rink is a major attraction in the park .
The park features kiosks that offers coffee and light meals and also Bryant Park Grill, an indoor restaurant. More than 1000 lightweight chairs can be moved throughout the park during good weather .Visitors can also rent pieces for chess and backgammon tables from the New York Chess and Backgammon Club. Other attractions include flower gardens, a fountain at the west end of the park, and a variety of vantage points from which to just sit and watch the world go by.
The park’s hosting of large-scale, ongoing events like the Barnum and Bailey Circus or the bi-annual Seventh on Sixth fashion shows, however, has caused some controversy as to whether this type of commercial use is appropriate for a small urban park.