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.
The attention to detail and commitment to progressive urban planning that spurred that transformation are maintained by the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation (BPRC). A non-profit corporation, BPRC is responsible for everything from trimming the hedges (so that most pedestrians can easily see into the park from the adjacent sidewalks) to choosing the right size gravel for the promenades, and designing the trash bins, food kiosks, and other structures that make Bryant Park unique.
Bryant Park’s Lawn, where thousands of nature-starved office workers gather for lunch on any fine weekday, is planted with a rye/fescue/bluegrass mix. The lawn is as long as a football field (300 feet) and 215 feet wide. The lawn is occasionally closed for aeration, fertilization, or protection during wet weather.