|In this issue:
20th HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival Line-Up Announced
Last week, Bryant Park Corporation and HBO unveiled the lineup for the 2012 HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival. This is the twentieth year for what has become an essential Manhattan experience (can it really be 20 years?), and in honor of this anniversary, we’ve chosen nine films that have been screened here in years past, plus one new-to-Bryant Park blockbuster to wind up the season. We are also pleased and grateful to welcome Pepsi and Ralph Lauren as new sponsors this year.
What a great slate of movies we have in store. Alfred Hitchcock’s shocker Psycho leads off the series on June 18. In the following weeks, Paul Newman and Robert Redford trade wisecracks in the ultimate buddy flick Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; that waif from Kansas seeks a way back home in The Wizard of Oz; Marlon Brando battles corruption in On the Waterfront; Audrey Hepburn charms Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday; Humphrey Bogart pursues the stuff dreams are made if in The Maltese Falcon; James Dean smolders as a Rebel Without a Cause; Errol Flynn dashes through Sherwood Forest in The Adventures of Robin Hood; Bette Davis watches her back in All About Eve; and Harrison Ford battles Nazis and other baddies in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Here’s the entire schedule.
Summer Mondays are special at Bryant Park. We open the lawn at 5:00pm, and choice spots are quickly taken. Picnics are encouraged, as are blankets but please, no plastic tarps; those are harmful to our beautiful lawn. Also, chairs are not permitted on the lawn; plenty of them are available for seating on the perimeter during the screening. Please keep in mind that all bags are subject to search. The screen lights up at dusk, usually between 8:00 and 9:00pm, and after a Looney Tunes cartoon it’s time for the HBO Dance and then the film itself.
Many savvy movie goers pre-function with a snack or drink prepared by ’wichcraft at The Southwest Porch, and the truly passionate attend Reel Talks, discussions about that evening’s film led by Scott Adlerberg. This year, Scott will be joined by a variety of film scholars and insiders, including Foster Hirsch, Bruce Bennett, and Wallace Stroby. Reel Talks are 7:00-8:00pm each film night at The Reading Room. Visit http://bryantpark.org/plan-your-visit/wordforword.html for details. ’wichcraft also makes it easy for you to enjoy the film the right way – with a picnic. Order online or by phone, and your feast will be ready when you get to the park.
The announcement of the movie schedule drew a lot of web traffic, by the way, including articles on DNAinfo.com, the Gothamist, Newyorkology.com, and The Huffington Post.
Tricia at Fashion Herald Has It Covered
Tricia Lewis, the 34th Street Partnership’s indefatigable blogger at Fashion Herald, has been quite busy of late, scouring the city’s most exciting retail apparel district for her spring wardrobe and bringing her findings to you through the blog.
Tricia recently welcomed a new pop-up store to the 34th Street district, Ruby and Jenna, which took over a tee-shirt shop at 1282 Broadway. This was definitely an upgrade, writes Tricia, who found it “full of affordable and charming clothing, and a very strong showing of accessories.” Read Tricia’s blogpost here.
She’s also very excited about the massive re-do currently in progress at Macy’s Herald Square. The World’s Largest Department Store is undergoing a $450 million renovation, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still open. To help you out, Tricia recently posted a guide to Macy’s during the re-do.
There’s been a lot of Macy’s on the blog these days, including a post about Havaianas footwear and O Mercado, a seasonal boutique at Macy’s Herald Square devoted to Brazilian accessories (warning: very bright colors).
And don’t forget that each Friday, Fashion Herald brings you the top 34th Street picks for Weekend Sales in the District. This spring and summer, don’t take any chances. Consult Fashion Herald before you come to 34th Street. And to keep absolutely up-to-the-minute, follow Fashion Herald on Twitter.
Bryant Park Visual Upgrade at Night
With the weather getting warmer, you will probably find yourself lingering at Bryant Park a bit later than in winter. The next time you do so please take a moment to look at the historic limestone balustrade surrounding the lawn. Last year, at the same time BPC was installing the electrical vault on the south side of the park, we also installed equipment to light the balustrade and the results are quite visually pleasing.
The equipment includes 34 flush, in-ground 12-watt LED light fixtures that we placed right into pre-cut bluestone pavers. The exiting pavers were removed and placed elsewhere in the park. Though the original purpose of this lighting was to add drama to the vertical limestone sections of the balustrade, we also stumbled into another interesting visual effect. The lamps now cast a subtle, dramatic glow on the planters we keep on the balustrade. Sheer serendipity, but we like serendipity.
2003: The Reading Room Appears at BP
When we last left the history of Bryant Park, the original “Open Air Library” had closed in 1942, a victim of the nation’s growing prosperity and involvement in World War II. Remember, the original concept had been to give unemployed workers and intellectuals a place to go during the day. Once the nation had ramped up for war and achieved full employment, it was decided that the need for the al fresco facility had passed.
Fast forward 60 eventful years, through which the fortunes of Bryant Park gradually ebbed, hit rock bottom in the late 1970’s, began to recover in 1980 with the formation of the Bryant Park Corporation, and ascended to new heights with the 1992 reopening of the park after a complete renovation.
In 2003, BPC decided to bring back the concept of a place where people could come and read al fresco for no charge. The motivation was somewhat different than in the 1930’s. The birth of the Reading Room at Bryant Park was due to the success of the park, not to the failure of the economy. Paul Romero, Director of Tourism and Visitor Services, was charged with running the Reading Room, and HBSC Bank provided sponsorship that has lasted until present day. The grand opening ceremony, at which NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe spoke (see photo), drew the attention of the New York Times.
The Reading Room was originally just about books and periodicals, with a collection of 300 volumes and 100 magazines and newspapers. In its second year, though, BPC introduced the three original Word for Word series, including Author, StoryTime, and Kids. Authors appearing that year included Candace Bushnell (Sex in the City), Simon Winchester, and Penn Gillette. In 2005, the Reading Room hosted Poem in Your Pocket for the first time, and ever since, this celebration of verse has kicked off the Word for Word season each April. After eight years of growth and adjustments, Word for Word is now the city’s premiere outdoor literary series, with 10 categories including Author, BookClub, Kids, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Reel Talks, StoryTelling, StoryTime, Writers, and Writers Teens. There are 85 Word for Word events scheduled at the Reading Room in 2012.
Along with being an instant hit with the public, the Reading Room was honored with a 2004 Neighborhood Achievement Award from the International Downtown Association (IDA), and a 2004 Neighborhood Development Achievement Award from the NYC Department of Small Business Services. In 2008, IDA added a Downtown Achievement Award for the Word for Word series.
It’s difficult now to imagine Bryant Park without The Reading Room, but we by no means take its success for granted. Its success is due to dedicated management by BPC’s Paul Romero, Quentin Robbins, Susie Sigel, and Nancy Ng, and the hard work performed by our energetic and friendly operating staff. We also have the generous support of an amazing array of sponsors to thank, including HSBC Bank USA, Oxford University Press, Scholastic, Mitchell’s NY, our retail partner Kinokuniya, the Gotham Writers Workshop, the New-York Historical Society, Conde Nast, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Time Inc., and Rodale.
The Bottom Line
After some sketchy weather that caused Bryant Park to cancel numerous events, Thursday, May 17, was bright, clear and sunny in NYC. 320 yoga enthusiasts responded by attending the free yoga session at the park that evening. Remember, BPC offers two free classes, conducted by instructors provided by lululemon athletica, each week: Tuesdays, 10:00-11:00am, at the Fountain Terrace; and Thursdays, 6:00-7:00pm on the lawn.
34th Street District
Tuesdays: 5:30-6:30pm, Broadway Boulevard between 34th and 35th Streets
Thursdays: 5:30-6:30pm, Broadway Boulevard between 34th and 35th Streets
Le Carrousel Spring Hours
The Reading Room
The Southwest Porch
Southwest Porch Events:
Tuesday: May 22, 8:30-9:30
Weekly Activities and Classes
Bryant Park Yoga
Tuesdays: 10:00-11:00am, Upper Terrace
Thursdays: 6:00-7:00pm, Lawn
Bryant Park Tai Chi
Tuesdays & Thursdays: 7:30-8:30am, Fountain Terrace
Meet the Birds
Tuesdays: 11:30am-2:00pm, Le Carrousel
Bryant Park Juggling
Tuesdays: 5:30-7:30pm, 40th Street Plaza
Bryant Park Birding Tours (Meet at Heiskell Plaza, Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street)
Bryant Park Fencing
Tuesdays: 1:00-2:00pm, Fifth Avenue Terrace at 41st Street
Bryant Park Moves: with Limon Dance
Saturdays: 10:00am-11:00pm, Llawn
Chess and Backgammon
Monday-Friday: 11:00am-6:00pm - Free Lessons
Ping Pong at The Tables
Bryant Park Games – Scrabble, Quoits, Bananagrams and more
Monday-Friday: 11:00am-7:00pm, 40th Street Plaza
Piano in Bryant Park: Todd Robbins – Ragtime and Classic Tin Pan Alley
Thursday-Friday: May 24-25, 12:30pm-2:30pm, Upper Terrace
Piano in Bryant Park: Terry Waldo – Protégé of Eubie Blank – Ragtime
Monday-Friday: May 28-June 1, 12:30pm-2:30pm, Upper Terrace
Word for Word Poetry: Michael Cumella’s (MAC) Crank-Up Phonograph and Poetry DJ Experience
Tuesday: May 29, 7:00-8:30pm, Reading Room
Word for Word Author: Marty Appel (Pinstripe Empire) and Harvey Araton (Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball’s Greatest Gift). Hosted by Rich Ackerman, WFAN Sports Anchor.
Wednesday: May 30, 12:30-1:45pm, Reading Room
20 Years of Bryant Park – A Photo Exhibit
Daily: May 4-June 29, All Hours, Bryant Park Fence
14th Street Park at Tenth Avenue
Chelsea Triangle at Ninth Avenue and 14th Street