Without a doubt my favorite place in Manhattan is Bryant Park. Located just a few minutes away from Grand Central Terminal (directly behind the New York Public Library), Bryant Park is somewhat of an oasis within the concrete jungle. Offering several permanent food vendors (highly, highly recommend Waffles & Dinges at the corner of Avenue of the Americas and W 42nd Street), ample seating for those who want to do work or just sit back and people watch, a carousel (3$ per ride), and numerous free events (yoga on the lawn, craft workshops, language lessons, exercise classes, and move nights, to name a few), this park has the unique ability to appeal to people of all ages. I personally like to bring homework and sit near the Bryant Park Grill, an upscale restaurant situated between the New York Public Library and the lawn of Bryant Park, often grabbing a sushi bowl from Pokéworks before making my way over to my choice spot for studying (Pokéworks, located on W 37th Street right by where the street intersects with Avenue of the Americas, offers sushi bowls and burritos unlike any sushi I’ve ever had with an average price of 10-12$ per bowl). Last semester while studying for finals, I was able to sit close enough to the piano on the patio near the Gril to just relax and enjoy the live performance rather than rely on headphones to block out the noise of the park. Free performances aren’t the only thing to focus on while sitting here, though; I’ve witnessed magazine photo shoots, wedding pictures, and was even able to get featured on Billy on the Street as Billy and his crew were walking around the perimeter of Bryant Park filming and talking to those that walked by them. Another show-related perk of Bryant Park is the fact that an employee of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is often at the park in the morning and offers standby tickets to the first people to recognize and approach her. Some activities that are always available at Bryant Park are chess and pingpong, and the gardens surrounding the lawn and seats are incredible and indicate the high levels of attention and effort that go into park maintenance. For those that are more wary of being in the same place as countless others, there are police officers on patrol that stroll around the entirety of the park to provide a sense of security. I genuinely can’t put into words just how enticing Bryant Park is, for native city-dwellers and tourists alike, and cannot emphasize enough how much I recommend experiencing the atmosphere yourself.
For more information: http://www.bryantpark.org