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Thread: Bryant Park

  1. #31


    Snow in Bryant Park. 12 February 2006.

  2. #32

  3. #33


    Thats the best photo of the snow Ive seen.

  4. #34


    ^ Agreed. Bryant Park always looks good.

  5. #35


    April 4, 2006
    A Resplendent Park Respite, Mosaic Tiles Included

    After two months and $200,000 in renovations, including a copper urn for fresh flowers, the restroom next to the New York Public Library in Bryant Park is set to reopen Tuesday.

    To call it a bathroom, perhaps, gives insufficient respect to a landmarked 95-year-old building that reopens today in Bryant Park after two months and $200,000 of renovations.

    "It is, in every way, a comfort station," the parks commissioner, Adrian Benepe, said about the new interior of the building on 42nd Street that, he said, was the best-known and most-used public bathroom in any city park. "No, it's sort of like the Oyster Bar — transplanted into a park."

    The free bathroom, which closed on Jan. 15, will reopen without fanfare — no speeches, politicians or even a ceremonial toilet-paper-cutting.

    "Look, it's a just a restroom," said Daniel A. Biederman, executive director of the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation.

    But as the grandest of the park system's 600 bathrooms, "it is an inspiration for us," Mr. Benepe said. Its renovation was completed not by his department, but rather by the nonprofit restoration corporation that operates the park for the city. "It sets the gold standard for park comfort stations."

    The Baths of Caracalla it is not, but the new interior has grand 10-foot coffered ceilings, mosaic tiles, a crown molding of painted wood, illumination from brushed stainless-steel wall sconces, indirect cove lighting, a wainscoting of mosaic vines and flowers, mirrors framed in cherry wood and, yes, sinks and a baby-changing table capped with Bianco Verde marble from India.

    Last year the bathroom, which is in the backyard of the New York Public Library, had 612,683 visitors and was used by 300 patrons an hour on peak afternoons. Studies have shown that about two-thirds of those using the bathroom are not park users.

    So far, its lavishness has drawn little condemnation. Even members of Community Board 5, who in the past have harassed the restoration corporation over such issues as crowd control at its movie nights and music volume during events — and who most recently took exception to commercialism and corporate sponsorship in the park — have not put the bathroom in their cross hairs.

    David Diamond, the community board's chairman, said there was no record of deliberations about the restroom by the board, adding that he thought "it's good that it's there."

    But is a $200,000 bathroom, well, too too? "It seems like a lot of money," Mr. Biederman said, "but when you'll be having more than three million visitors over five years — when it'll need restoration again — that's only 6 cents per use. That's not unwarranted, I think."

    Bryant Park "has consistently pushed the envelope as to how refined a park can be," Mr. Benepe said, adding that the Department of Parks and Recreation "can aspire to this level in our bathrooms, although we probably won't go as far as the cut flowers."

    Indeed, a large coppery urn of fresh flowers will decorate the entry vestibule of the bathroom.

    Mr. Benepe said that his department has embarked on a campaign to restore its bathrooms and retrofit them to increase accessibility for the disabled. "We're making a concerted effort to make sure park comfort stations are open, decent and clean," he said. "You know, we have an informal motto — we actually say this in our meetings — it's our business to help New Yorkers do theirs."

    The commissioner gave high marks to the Central Park Conservancy for refurbishing bathrooms in that park. Some park restrooms have especially high usage — such as "the one by the Delacorte Theater in Shakespeare season, and the one in Battery Park near the tour boats," he said — but the Bryant Park building "is on 42nd Street, the crossroads of the world," he added. "People use it day-in, day-out, fair weather or foul."

    The 25-foot-long, 18-foot-wide building was designed by the architects John Merven Carrère and Thomas Hastings when they created the public library on Fifth Avenue. The inspiration for the bathroom's new interior was "the facilities in luxury hotels like the Regency, the Plaza, the Waldorf and the St. Regis," Mr. Biederman said.

    Given the building's Beaux Arts exterior, it was decided not to renovate the interior in a contemporary way, "since we wanted a more traditional look of rich materials, mosaics, marble and woods," Mr. Biederman said.

    The bathroom has had, and will continue to have, a full-time attendant and a security guard nearby. It has been a mainstay of Midtown for about 15 years, since the restoration corporation opened it in the early 1990's after seeking to banish drug dealers, bellicose inebriates and homeless habitués from the park. Mr. Biederman said the bathroom had been continuously open from its initial construction until the mid-1960's, when disrepair brought about its closing for some 25 years.

    In the 1990's "it had to be reopened, because there was no way we could invite thousands of people into our park and not have a bathroom for them," Mr. Biederman said. "But soon we realized we were taking on the burden of all the people in mid-Manhattan who needed a bathroom."

    Thanks to overuse, the restroom's contemporary black-and-white tiles had become grayish, its facilities were worn, "and it felt grim," Mr. Biederman said. The roof needed to be replaced and its exterior mortar needed repointing.

    In the final stages of the renovation, even construction workers expressed surprise at the building.

    "There's so much attention to detail," said Joe Brescher, who was inspecting the tiles on a recent afternoon. "It's the nicest restroom I've ever worked on."

    He pointed proudly to the wainscoting cap of green tile. "This is high end."

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  6. #36


    City Strips in Bryant Park

    May 23, 2006 – May 26, 2006

    Fountain Terrace

    Orange, green and blue circular patterns surround the fountain and down the steps toward 6th Avenue to create a dazzling display of color. A site-specific art installation project featuring color strips on the ground of iconic locations in 10 global cities launches in Bryant Park.

    City Strips begins Motorola’s worldwide marketing campaign for the new color PEBL phone. Click here for more information about the color PEBL phones.

    Return to the Bryant Park calendar.

    © 2003 Bryant Park Restoration Corporation

  7. #37
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Thumbs down

    Those strips are gross, tacky and quite sickening.

    They are done in a way similar to the In-Your-Face At-Your-Feet walkway adspace that has been featured in the PATH and other systems the past few years.

    I was wondering who put that crap up, now I know.

  8. #38
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    Relax, they're just having a little fun. It's just temporary and is something interesting and different. Besides, with art, we should always have an open mind.
    I myself, aren't too crazy about its looks either. It's got that 60's and 70's psychedelic and polyester sort of feel to it.

  9. #39


    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby
    Besides, with art, we should always have an open mind.



  10. #40
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    ^ Which is the way that NYC has figured out to keep many of its parks nice & pretty (private funding vs. your tax dollars).

  11. #41
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc


    Why not? Are they mutually exclusive?

  12. #42


    Afternoon Arias in Bryant Park.

    The sun arrived on cue.

    There will be performances on Thursday Aug 17 and Friday Aug 18 at 12:30 PM.

    Nice way to have lunch if you're in Midtown.

  13. #43


    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    Why not? Are they mutually exclusive?
    Yes. Art and advertising are mutually exclusive.

    They have different goals. Advertising is a form of propaganda, and propaganda, however seductive, is never art.

  14. #44
    The Dude Abides
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    NYC - Financial District


    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    Advertising is a form of propaganda, and propaganda, however seductive, is never art.
    Isn't it? Are you discounting political propoganda? Portraits of Hitler, Stalin? Oh, I see what you're saying. A true artist wouldn't create one of those and consider it art.

    But...then there are always works like Guernica.

  15. #45


    Guernica wasn't propaganda; it was deeply felt and personal, and it wasn't done at the behest of a corporation or a government.

    17th Century Italian religious painting skates closer to being propaganda; though it's spectacular, you might allow yourself to wonder if the ceiling of Il Gesu is really art. The folks who painted many of those things were into sodomy and lucre. Some might claim it shows in the paintings. Guido Reni, anyone? Marvel comics.

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