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No. 846
February 23, 2012
MidCity News
In this issue:Cellar Bar Happy Hour
Last Chance to Skate at Citi Pond
Last Chance to Skate at Citi PondOkay, this is it; the very last week for New Yorkers and visitors to the Big Apple to enjoy one of the city’s most popular winter attractions, because Citi Pond at Bryant Park closes on Sunday. That means just five more days to skate on Manhattan’s only admission-free rink, and five more days to enjoy Celsius, the glass-clad restaurant/bar sitting astride Citi Pond, which will also close its doors for the season on Sunday. Better hurry if you want one last drink, snack, or meal while watching the skaters below.

This will also be the last week for the extended season of selected food sellers from The Holiday Shops. Nine food and drink vendors will be open on the Fountain Terrace through Sunday, as will Down at the Farm, the specialty shop offering gloves, hats, and scarves for sale. That shop also offers Bryant Park-branded clothing items including shirts and hats. Those latter items are also at Bryant Park Shop.  

It’s hard to say goodbye, but remember, Citi Pond will be replaced in little over a month by Bryant Park’s lawn. We expect all material from the Pond to be gone by midnight, March 7, at which time we’ll immediately begin preparing the area for the lawn. Depending on how much work there is to be done, and the weather, we are aiming to unroll the new sod in miid March. After that, if we get decent weather, we anticipate opening the lawn to the public on or around May 1.

Last Chance to Skate at Citi PondSo March will definitely be a transition month for Bryant Park, but Le Carrousel will be open every day, 11:00am-7:00pm (rides are only $2, or 10 for $15 with a Frequent User Card). The Southwest Porch and the ’wichcraft kiosks will be open as well. The Tables, BP’s ping-pong area, won’t be staffed, but if there’s a mild, sunny day, and you have your own paddles and balls, you’re welcome to play. And remember, the first big springtime event is less than two months away, when Poem in Your Pocket Day kicks off the 2012 Word for Word season at the Reading Room on Thursday, April 26. All are welcome to attend this springtime tradition, which runs from 11:00am to 2:00pm. If you are an NYC student and want to participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day, please submit a request, through your school administrator, to Nancy Ng, at

Free Chocolate at Chelsea Triangle Event  
Free Chocolate at Chelsea Triangle EventIt was a sweet and perfectly timed promotion. On Tuesday, February 14, Scharffen Berger Chocolate Makers, which in 1997 became the first American “bean-to-bar” chocolate company in 50 years, hosted an event at the Chelsea Triangle that gave Chelsea chocoholics the opportunity to freely indulge in their passion.

The one-day only Scharffen Berger Chocolate Bar featured friendly staffers, dressed colorfully in red scarves and brown ski caps, handing out free hot chocolate and squares of chocolate to visitors to the Triangle. There were also permanent stations at which visitors could pick up free samples of various Scharffen Berger chocolate products, ranging from rich milk chocolate all the way the darkest stuff.  People were pleased to receive free samples of some of America’s finest chocolate, to say the least.

Free Chocolate at Chelsea Triangle EventThe people who came also enjoyed the chance to send free “Chocolate-Grams.” The hosts set up a long table with red stools at which everyone was invited to fill out an address card to send a sample of chocolate to a loved one. It was, all in all, a terrific Valentine’s Day event.  

It’s amazing what developing and programming a bit of public space can do for a neighborhood. More and more companies are discovering that the Chelsea Triangle offers an excellent urban setting for promotions. If your company is interested in staging a promotion, photo shoot, or video shoot at the Triangle, log on to the Events page at the Chelsea Improvement Company website.   
34SP Installs CityBenches on 34th Street
34SP Installs CityBenches on 34th StreetThose internationally famous CityBenches, originally designed and developed by Ignacio Ciocchini for the Chelsea Improvement Company, will be making their way across the city later this year when the NYC Department of Transportation begins its installation of 1,000 units at bus stops, sidewalks, hospitals and other locations.

In the meantime, the 34th Street Partnership recently completed a project to install 34 of Ciocchini’s gleaming beauties throughout the 34th Street District. The new CityBenches replace 34 aging benches that dated back to the 1990’s.   

The installation improved our streets both visually and functionally. The new benches are sleek, attractive, and are designed to evoke motion in the city that never sleeps. Made of durable steel, they accommodate various body types and provide ample space for users. Their signature perforations are as functional as they are eye-catching: they allow heat to dissipate in the summer, and water or snow to fall through in inclement weather.

The CIC has placed eight CityBenches in Chelsea, and now 34SP has placed 34 units in the District. Next up, NYC DOT will place 1,000 of them across all five boroughs. The agency wants citizens’ input as to just where to place them. You can make your choice known by visiting the CityBench page at DOT’s website.

City Requests Help From Retailers
In 2010, Mayor Bloomberg partnered with the City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to create the New Business Acceleration Team (NBAT) to assist the owners of fledging restaurants in navigating the often confusing process of obtaining the proper permits from the city. To date, NBAT has helped more than 600 new restaurants shave an average of 75 days off the process. Deputy Mayors Caswell F. Holloway and Robert K. Steel, along with Ms. Quinn, now wish to expand NBAT so that the program can similarly help entrepreneurs aiming to open retail stores in the city.

To learn more about the interactions retail businesses have with the City, and which requirements are the most difficult, the Mayor’s Office and the Speaker launched the NYC Retail Survey on February 17. By filling out the survey, NYC business owners can provide valuable input for the City, as it tailors the program to be as effective as possible. “We want the New Business Acceleration Team to carry its success from the restaurant industry to the retail sector and others, and this survey will ensure that we target the most critical issues that business owners face when they interact with the City,” says Deputy Mayor Caswell F. Holloway.

The 34th Street Partnership urges all retail operators in the District to assist the City by participating in this survey. You can fill out the survey online, or download this form, fill it out, and mail it to NYC Retail Survey, 253 Broadway, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10007. You may also scan the completed form and email it to

Winners of Porch SW Air LUV-ers Contest Announced
Winners of Porch SW Air Luv-ers Contest AnnouncedWow! The response to the Long Distance LUV-ers Contest, in which Bryant Park Corporation and Southwest Airlines teamed up to reunite two long-distance lovers, was impressive in more ways than one. Not only did more than 100 couples share their tales of separation, but the stories themselves were wonderful.

The winners were announced on Valentine’s Day and here’s the skinny on them. Lisa (from California) met her guy during a trip to the Big Apple, and asked him for help in completing her “NYC bucket list.” That list included “watching a film at Bryant Park”, but alas, the weather didn’t cooperate and they were rained out. The couple has been trying to get together for six months, and now they can. Hopefully, it will be during the summer so they can complete that list.

Winners of Porch SW Air Luv-ers Contest AnnouncedThen there’s Tara and Collin. Both Nebraskans, they met in the Cornhusker state at age sixteen but didn’t really start dating until he came to NYC for grad school. It wasn’t until Tara came here to visit him that they had their first real date at…Bryant Park! Collin’s still here and, thanks to Southwest Airlines, he’ll soon be reunited with Tara.

These stories are pretty cool (see the Bryant Park blog for more) and it was a blast to work with Southwest Airlines to make it all possible. SWA is, of course, the generous sponsor of the Southwest Porch at Bryant Park, where everyone is welcome to come take a seat in a rocker, swing, or Adirondack chair and just relax. You can also order a drink or some specialty snacks prepared by ’wichcraft.          

The Bottom Line
The Bottom LineA look at a cross-section of the area covered by the Bryant Park lawn yields some impressive stats. First, there’s the lawn itself, which at 280 feet x 180 feet (1.1 acres), is the largest greensward in Manhattan, south of Central Park. Just underneath the lawn are over 4,000 linear feet of drainage pipe, and 2,250 linear feet of irrigation pipes. Still further below are the more than 40 miles of bookshelves that comprise the New York Public Library’s ‘stacks.’  

Bryant Park
Daily Amenities
Le Carrousel Winter Hours
   Thursday-Sunday: 11:00am-6:00pm
The Southwest Porch
   Daily: 12:00pm-8:00pm
Ongoing Programs
Citi Pond – Last Day is February 26
   Sunday: 8:00am-10:00pm
   Friday-Saturday: 8:00am-midnight
Celsius – Last Day is February 26
   Thursday-Saturday: 12:00pm-midnight
   Sunday-Wednesday: 12:00pm-10:00pm 
Bruce D. Gittlin, 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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