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No. 852
April 11, 2012
MidCity News
In this issue:
Participate in 34SP 2012 Community Satisfaction Survey
Participate in 34SP 2012 Community Satisfaction SurveyThe budding trees and blooming flowers outside signal that it’s time for the 34th Street Partnership’s 2012 Community Satisfaction Survey.  We are excited to announce that anyone who completes a survey this year has the chance to win a generous gift card to one of seven local establishments: B&H Photo, Foley's Pub, Heartland BreweryJack Demsey's PubLegends NYC, Stout NYC, and Féile.

We want to know what you think about our performance in every aspect of our operations. If you are a member of the 34thStreet Partnership, work in the district, live here, or just spend time here, we want to hear from you! You can fill out the survey online here. All surveys must be received by 5:00pm EDT, Monday, April 30.  

This survey is very important to us, and we encourage everyone to participate.  It will only take a few minutes, and it will help us understand what we are doing well and what we might do better. You may also learn more about what we do. If you have any questions, please email mcn@urbanmgt.com. We thank you for your participation.

Hennessy Unleashes ‘White Rabbit’ at Chelsea Triangle  
Hennessy Unleashes 'White Rabbit' at Chelsea TriangleLast week, the Chelsea Triangle at 14th Street and Ninth Avenue was the site of some exciting goings-on. Visitors had the chance to “box” World Champion Manny Pacquiao or “sing duets” with Erykah Badu, then upload footage of their performance onto their social media sites. It was all part of Hennessy’s ‘White Rabbit’ multi-media ad campaign. What’s a 'White Rabbit?' It’s the inner motivation that drives us to succeed, and Pacqiuao, Ms. Badu, and director Martin Scorsese are all featured in the campaign. The weather cooperated and hundreds of folks stopped by, many who chose to participate.

Choosing the Chelsea Triangle for this rollout was a natural for Moet Hennessy, a constituent of the Chelsea Improvement Company whose NYC headquarters are at 85 Tenth Avenue. This event followed the very successful Sephora + Pantone Color Pop-Up Shop and has ensured that the Triangle is off to a great start in 2012. If your company is looking for a great spot in an on-the-go urban neighborhood, the Chelsea Triangle just might be the spot for you. To learn more about staging a promotion, product launch, or photo shoot there, check out the CIC’s website.

1934 Bryant Park Renovation Spearheaded by Robert Moses
1934 Bryant Park Renovation Spearheaded by Robert MosesPrior to 1992, the most dramatic renovation to Bryant Park happened in 1934. On January 1 of that year, the park was a much-lamented eyesore, due to a lack of money and leadership, and the legacy of a failed exhibition featuring a replica of Federal Hall. There was also, however, a tremendous amount of energy being expended by persons wanting to save the park. One such effort occurred in late 1933, when the Architects Emergency Committee, formed to provide relief for unemployed architects, held a contest calling for plans to renovate the park. That contest was won by Queens architect Lusby Simpson, and all 40 entries were displayed at the Ziegfeld Theater in November, 1933. That victory netted Mr. Simpson $100 and not much else, as the contest was private and merely added to the plethora of possible plans for the park. This photo shows Mr. Simpson surveying work on the park from the western edge.

The real change came in 1933 with the election of the reform-minded Fiorello LaGuardia as Mayor of NYC. LaGuardia knew that the prevailing situation, wherein the city’s parks were directly administered by borough Presidents who often had no expertise in the field, was inadequate. LaGuardia proposed that all of the city’s parks be administered by one true Parks Commissioner, and nominated Robert Moses for the post, who already chaired the New York State Park Council, was President of the Long Island State Park Commission. State lawmakers didn’t want Moses to hold all those positions, but after some intense lobbying in Albany, the appointment came through and Moses wasted no time.

1934 Bryant Park Renovation Spearheaded by Robert MosesUsing Simpson’s plan as a basis, Moses directed an incredibly quick refashioning of Bryant Park in 1934. The park was raised four feet from the street, a broad lawn was installed, and the entire park was surrounded by a granite wall topped by a wrought-iron fence. The Lowell Fountain (picture taken at the opening dedication ceremony on September 14, 1934) was moved from the shadow of the library to its current position on the west end of the park, and 270 London Plane trees were planted. Though the effect was lavish, the renovation cost was relatively modest, as workers from the New Deal-era Civil Works Administration were employed. In little over six months, the park was transformed from a waste heap to an attractive accompaniment to the Beaux Arts magnificence of the New York Public Library.

1934 Bryant Park Renovation Spearheaded by Robert MosesPraise was generally lavish, but not everyone was thrilled. Lewis Mumford, longtime architecture critic for The New Yorker, famously dissented. After perfunctorily admitting that anything was better than the previous situation, his objections centered on the fact that the east-west orientation led to a spectacular vista of…the Sixth Avenue El train. That structure had plagued the park since the 1880’s and was finally torn down in the late 1930’s. That was good news for the park, but unfortunately, that demolition, coupled with the construction of the Sixth Avenue subway, dominated the park for years. This photo of the El being torn down gives a good idea of just how unsightly it was.    

1934 Bryant Park Renovation Spearheaded by Robert MosesThere were other problems with the design, not immediately apparent. As discussed here before, the elevation of the park removed it from the ebb and flow of pedestrian traffic (check out this photo to see the effect the elevation wrought). Also, the stone walls, the relatively few entrances, and tall hedges inside the park exacerbated an urban problem that Moses and Simpson could not have anticipated: the open selling of illegal drugs.   

Whatever the defects, the 1934 rehabilitation of Bryant Park established some important precedents. First, the need for a breathing space in midtown-Manhattan was widely acknowledged; second, business and building owners in the area made it clear that they believed a thriving park was essential for the success of the entire neighborhood; and third, the changes that strong leadership could bring to bear on a seemingly forlorn cause was made apparent.  

33rd Street: “Irish Pub Way”
33rd Street: "Irish Pub Way"No city outside of Ireland itself takes Irish pubs more seriously than the Big Apple, and one of the most impressive concentrations of Gaelic watering holes in the city is right here in our District on 33rd Street. In fact many folks, as evidenced by this Bob Lape's Dining Diary Clip on WCBS Radio, refer to the stretch of 33rd between Madison and Seventh Avenue as “Irish Pub Way”. Between Tracks Raw Bar and Grill in Penn Station at Seventh Avenue and Foley’s Pub and Nelly Spillane’s, near Fifth Avenue, you’ll find Féile, Stout NYC, tir na nOg Bar and GrillLegends NYC, Jack Demsey’s Pub, and Blarney Rock. They all offer multiple beers and ales on tap and fine pub grub, and are also great places to catch a game, whether its football, baseball, basketball, soccer, rugby or hurling.              

The Bottom Line
The Bottom LineAttendance at Le Carrousel in Bryant Park is off to a spectacular start in 2012, with new records set in each completed month so far. In March, we had 6,270 riders, smashing March 2011’s record by 65%. For the year, we’ve already welcomed 13,521 riders and are running 37% ahead of last year’s pace. Remember, Le Carrousel is open daily from 11:00am-7:00pm. Rides are only $2, and a Frequent Rider card gets you 10 rides for $15.

Bryant Park
Daily Amenities
Le Carrousel Spring Hours  
   Daily: 11:00am-7:00pm
The Southwest Porch
   Daily: 12:00pm-8:00pm

Weekly Activities
Bryant Park Juggling
  Tuesdays: 5:30-7:30pm, 40th Street Plaza
Bryant Park Birding Tours (Meet at Heiskell Plaza, Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street) Begins April 9
  Mondays: 8:00-9:00am
  Thursdays: 5:00-6:00pm
Bryant Park Fencing
  Tuesdays: 1:00-2:00pm, Fifth Avenue Terrace at 41st Street    
  
Bryant Park Games   
Chess and Backgammon
   Monday-Friday: 11:00am-7:00pm
Pétanque
   Monday-Friday: 11:00am-6:00pm - Free Lessons
Ping Pong at The Tables
   Daily: 11:00am-7:00pm

Gaston Silva, Chairman 34th Street Partnership | Michael Fuchs, Chairman Bryant Park Corporation | Adam Goldenberg, L. Robert Lieb & Clyde E. Rankin, III, Co-Chairmen Bryant Park Management Corp. | Daniel A. Biederman, President 34th Street Partnership, Bryant Park Management Corp., Executive Director Bryant Park Corporation
1065 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 2400 New York, NY 10018 | Tel 212.719.3434 | Fax 212.719.3499

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