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34th Street Partnership and Fashion Herald Join Pinterest
The 34th Street Partnership’s social media team has worked hard to put the city’s most exciting retail apparel district on the cyber-map. Our latest foray has been to create boards for the 34th Street Partnership and Fashion Herald on Pinterest, the online pinboard where users can share and organize their interests and inspirations.
On 34SP’s page, we’ve created pinboards devoted to topics specific to 34th Street, including Herald Square, Greeley Square, the history of the District, and the Empire State Building; as well as topics that we’re interested in, such as Food Carts Around the World, Horticulture, and Street Art. Give us a visit and follow our boards.
Over at Fashion Herald’s own Pinterest page, blogger Tricia Lewis maintains pinboards for her own clothes (and those duds she’d love to get), great clothes you can find on 34th Street, her favorite beauty products, cool accessories, “must-haves”, and Fashion Week. More personally, she shares favorite books, foods, and advice on motherhood.
These are just the newest of 34SP’s burgeoning number of social media platforms. The Partnership also maintains a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, galleries on Flickr, and 34th Street-centered video clips on YouTube. And Fashion Herald, Ms. Lewis’ incomparable guide to apparel shopping on 34th Street, has its own Twitter feed and Facebook page.
BPC and 34SP Salute James Q. Wilson
James Q. Wilson, one of the most important social scientists of the last 50 years, recently passed away, and we’ll miss him. Mr. Wilson co-authored, with George L. Kelling, a highly influential 1982 essay in Atlantic Monthly that introduced the broken windows theory into public discourse. This theory posits that people are less likely to commit petty crimes or exhibit anti-social behavior in public spaces that appear to be well cared for; and that quick and decisive action when such behavior does happen prevents worse crimes from happening there as well.
Thus, for example, a broken window in a public area that remains unrepaired sends a signal that crime will be tolerated there; but exactly the opposite signal is sent if the window and all other instances of damage are consistently attended to. This theory inspired Bryant Park Corporation in the 1980’s, and was adopted by then-Transit Police Chief William Bratton in 1990. It was later adopted by the NYPD and police departments in other U.S. cities, and is widely credited with helping to bring about the remarkable decrease in crime in cities across America over the last 20 years. “I never met Jim Wilson, but I feel I’ve always been able to turn to his work, along with that of George Kelling, for guidance as to how to make our spaces more welcoming for New York citizens. A never-ending source of good ideas for the United States has passed from the scene,” says BPC President Dan Biederman.
We urge everyone interested in just how New York and other cities were able to turn things around to learn more about this theory. Mr. Kelling, with Catherine Coles, expanded the original article into a book in 1996 titled Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in our Communities. This book is available at the Bryant Park Shop Library, along with other texts that have inspired us.
1980: The Tide Turns at Bryant Park
Following a decade of seemingly hopeless decline for Bryant Park, the last, best hope for rescuing the park for the people of New York came about in 1980 when the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation was created with a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Former Time, Inc. Chairman (and, at the time, President of the New York Public Library) Andrew Heiskell, and BPRC President Dan Biederman immediately went to work, aided by the advice of public space expert William H. Whyte.
There had been earlier attempts to bring people back to the park, but they mostly centered on creating attractions. The leaders of the fledgling BPC knew that creating programs was important, but just as crucial was to clean the park up, keep it clean, and make it safer for people even when there were no events. Just as importantly, the BPC sought and received the financial support of a number of neighborhood business and property owners, who understood that a successful effort in Bryant Park would benefit them as well.
The BPRC added a sanitation team to supplement the Parks Department’s own forces, began efforts to repair the park’s dilapidated physical plant, and substantially increased security. People began to come back to the park, and just as importantly, linger on after events. Observers noticed the changes, but were wary as to their permanence. An article in the NY Times in July of that year nicely summed up this combination of cheer and cynicism: ‘Bright Note in a Seedy Park’ expressed the hope by some that new flower beds, an open-air café, and bookstalls might help push out the drug-sellers, but noted that the latter were still there plying their trade.
A more positive article came later in the year. ‘Some Success Seen in Effort to Reclaim Bryant Park’ focused on the larger crowds that were coming on sunny days, but also noted that drug-sellers were operating openly. This article mentioned some of the most important keys to the quick improvement to the park, including private funding, added sanitation and security services, and programming. It also pointed to the future by discussing the defects of the park’s design: “It doesn’t invite you in,” Mr. Whyte was quoted. The solution to that particular problem was a decade away, but in the meantime, as Mr. Heiskell told the Times, “This summer, we’ve finally turned it around.”
Bryant Park’s Potties Really Are Special
Throughout its history, NYC has always lacked sufficient numbers of public restrooms. The situation became desperate in the 1970’s, when the city’s fiscal crisis and high crime rate forced the closure of a majority of public facilities. Ever since, efforts to increase their number have run into political and bureaucratic barriers, and even after two decades of recovery, we still lag in this area.
In fact, according an article by Michelle Young in Untapped New York, in 2009, the city had fewer than one thousand functioning public loos. By comparison, Singapore, which covers 200 sq. mi. less than NYC, has more than 29,000. All the more reason to appreciate the fabulous potties at Bryant Park which, lest you have forgotten, were a finalist for the coveted America’s Best Restroom in 2010.
Cook Smart in Your Bryant Park Apron
Bryant Park Shop, the online store where you can find a wide-ranging array of items designed to bring the elegance of Bryant Park right into your home, now offers for sale BPC-branded aprons. They’re Bryant Park Green, have three handy pockets, and feature our famous “BP chair” logo on the front. This cotton/poly blend is machine-washable, and is the perfect apron for cooks, artists, or gardeners.
The Bottom Line
March is usually a time of low attendance at Bryant Park, but just look at what some unseasonably warm weather can do. On Thursday, March 8, the temperature rose to 70 degrees, and at 1:00pm, we counted 3,522 people at the park.
Le Carrousel Spring Hours
The Southwest Porch
Bryant Park Juggling
Tuesdays: 5:30-7:30pm, 40th Street Plaza