Bryant Park And Its Events

Bryant Park And Its Events

Bryant Park is a delightful common in Manhattan that offers a relaxing break from the quick-paced activity of Midtown, several eateries, and many interesting events and recreational activities throughout the year.

Along with the adjacent New York City Library, Bryant Park spans an entire city avenue (between 5th & 6th), and two city blocks (between 40th and 42nd streets). Accommodating over 800 visitors per acre every day, New York City’s “Town Square” is a favorite year-round destination for office workers, Manhattanites, and tourists alike.

The formal history of Bryant Park began in colonial times when Thomas Dongan – the Governor of the Province of New York – designated the area as a public space in 1686.

The area now known as Bryant Park has played a role in two American conflicts; during the Revolutionary War, George Washington and his troops scurried across it after being defeated by the English in The Battle of Long Island in 1776. It was also utilized as a Union soldier encampment during The Civil War.

The city of New York assumed control of the land in 1822, using it a gravesite for indigent people for 18 years, until it was decommissioned to begin the creation of the Croton Reservoir on the spot where the New York Public Library now stands.

Park construction began a few years later on the adjacent lot, culminating in the completion of Reservoir Park in 1870. After renaming the park in 1884 to honor the poet and editor of the New York Evening Post, the reservoir was torn down in 1900, and ultimately replaced with the library in 1911.

Bryant Park has undergone various renovations and improvements over the years, and now is a thriving and beautiful area with formal seasonal gardens, monuments, terraces, walkways, the largest lawn in Midtown, over 1,000 events, free WIFI, and numerous activities throughout the seasons.

Daily Activities

Every day, visitors are welcomed to join in many different (mostly free) activities available at the park, with the aid of instructors and hosts.

Games – There are 50+ tabletop games at the public’s disposal, including game socials, marathons and tournaments.

Petanque – This French game of boules (French term for balls), is a great way to pass the time with old (and new) friends.

Art Cart – With the natural beauty of Bryant Park as your muse, unleash your inner Picasso with free craft and drawing supplies, and instruction.

Chess and Backgammon – Test your skills at a game of chess or backgammon either with a friend, or with an opponent the Chess Host pairs you with. Ramp up the fun by joining a chess social or entering a tournament.

Le Caroussel – Treat the kids (and yourself) to a ride on the beautiful French classical merry-go-round featuring 14 whimsical animal characters. Tickets may be purchased at the ticket booth or online. It’s also a great spot to host a child’s birthday party.

Ping Pong – Sign up with the Ping Pong Host to reserve your 10-minute spot on one of Bryant Park’s hi-tech tables.

Putting and Kubb – Try your hand at this Scandinavian lawn bowling game. The Games Host will get you started and even find you a partner.

Reading Room – Honoring a tradition originating during the Great Depression, Bryant Park’s “Open Air Library” offers free access to books, periodicals and other materials to read on-site. Special programs such as workshops, guest lectures, crossword puzzle events, children’s programs and more are also part of the Reading Room.

Arts and Culture

Bryant Park hosts many events throughout the year to inspire and entertain. Join in a classic match of musical chairs, give square-dancing a whirl, or enjoy piano music performances and more.

There are also enriching cultural events throughout the year such as the weekly Accordions Around The World concerts, Shakespeare presentations, Friday professional dance performances, Emerging Music Concerts, NYC Opera, other musical events, and more.

You can even dance the night away for a good cause at the Barefoot Ball, or sample the best of Broadway at Broadway In Bryant Park,


Classes and Activities

There are a myriad of opportunities for fitness, education, competition, and learning new skills at the park including, but not limited to:



There are several options for dining at Bryant Park. Bryant Park Grille and the Bryant Park Café offer fine dining and casual dining atmospheres (respectively) with beautiful views of the park.

The Southwest Porch is a great outdoor spot to enjoy a bite or sip a cocktail, relax, and recharge both yourself and your mobile devices.

For faster and portable food choices, there are several kiosks and a French market available where you can grab something to enjoy wherever you like at the park.

A Fun and Festive Park All Year Long

Along with all these great activities and events throughout the year, Bryant Park transforms into a winter wonderland from the end of October to the beginning of March.

There are several signature Manhattan holiday events guaranteed to fill you with a festive spirit, and the Winter Village is one of them. You’ll love strolling around the park, browsing through more than one hundred charming specialty gift shops and food vendors, all centered around a 17,000-square foot ice-skating rink and cheerful holiday tree. There are even special events such as a tree lighting ceremony and ice show – even the opportunity to get your picture taken with Santa.

Look for next week’s blog, “Riverside Park: An Essential.”