Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bryant Park in Bloom

View from the Terrace Cafe

----A Postcards from New York Encore----

Since this article first appeared last spring, two new places have opened across from the Park that we recommend you consider in your picnic plans; Pret a Manger for terrific organic sandwiches and Crumbs for the most delectable cupcakes in a wide variety of flavors.


Dear Postcards from New York Reader,

Spring never arrived; winter hung on for an unusually long time, and now all of a sudden, the heat is upon us. New Yorker’s have quickly abandoned hats, coats and scarves in exchange for beach wear, sandals and flip flops. Overnight, trees blossomed from bare branches to provide a welcome oasis and parks are filled with people reading newspapers, playing chess, eating, chatting or just sitting in quite reflection.

Bryant Park on 42nd Street behind the New York Public Library has long been a lunchtime refuge for corporate employees working in the area and students from the State University of New York School of Optometry across the street.

Years ago, from my office in the AT&T Building (now Verizon) on the Avenue of the Americas, I looked down upon the park and realized the geometrically laid out spaces for grass and trees were deliberately designed to compliment the architecture of the Library. From my high vantage point, it was immediately evident that the early 20th century building was planned to replicate an Italian Renaissance or Baroque Palazzo (Palace) with the requisite landscaped garden to provide a pastoral retreat from city life.

The park's tranquil beauty, café umbrellas, comfortable chairs and tables, make it an ideal location for a picnic. Invite a friend to meet you for lunch or after work for a short visit. You can pick up everything you need close-by. Select a bottle of chilled wine from a wide variety at Park Ave Wines and Spirits, 292 Madison Avenue, between 40th and 41st. Then, stop by Zeytinz, direcly across from the Park on 40th St, for fruit, crackers, sandwiches, breadsticks and of course, cheese. One nice touch, they have a place where you can wash the fresh fruit.

Monday evenings in the summer, the Park becomes the “place to be” when HBO sponsors a Summer Film Festival. Thousands of New Yorker's with picnic baskets and hampers in all shapes and sizes come out to eat, lounge on the grass and toast glasses of wine. Plan now to join the party next Monday night, June 18th, when the Festival opens with one of my favorite “New York” movies, Woody Allen’s funny, charming and unforgettable Annie Hall.

Other classics on this summer's menu include: The Sting, Psycho, and Casablanca. Click here for dates and check out the many events from Yoga and Tai Chi, knitting, poetry readings and jazz concerts that keep Bryant Park abuzz with activity from early morning to late at night.

Jacqueline Cable
For Postcards from New York

P.S. Want to feel like you are sitting under the trees? Click directly on the photograph and see what happens.

Addresses to remember: Bryant Park, 42nd Street and Avenue of the Americas. Visit web site to learn more about the parks beautiful flower arrangements, events like free tai chi classes, music and dance performances, poetry and book readings

Zeytinz, 24 West 40th Street,, 212-575-8080.

Park Ave Wine and Spirits, 292 Madison Avenue, between 40 and 41st Street, 212-685-2442,

Directions: From Times Square MTA A, E, C, 1, 2, 3, 7, S, R, N, Q or Grand Central Station 4, 5, 6, 7, and S, a short walk to Avenue of the Americas.

Photo by Joseph Knight

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