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Fodor's New York City 2014
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Bryant Park Review
This lovely green space nestled among landmarks and skyscrapers is one of Manhattan's most popular parks. Tall London plane trees line the perimeter of the sunny central lawn, overlooking stone terraces, formal flower beds, gravel pathways, and a smattering of kiosks selling everything from sandwiches to egg creams (in season). The garden tables scattered about fill with lunching office workers and folks enjoying the park's free Wi-Fi (signs show you how to log on). In summer you can check out free live jazz and "Broadway in Bryant Park" musical theater performances, as well as author readings. Most popular of all is the Summer Film Festival: locals leave work early to snag a spot on the lawn for the outdoor screenings each Monday at dusk. At the east side of the park, near a squatting bronze cast of Gertrude Stein, is the stylish Bryant Park Grill, which has a rooftop garden, and the adjacent open-air Bryant Park Café, open seasonally. The 5th Avenue terrace is home to a different food truck at lunchtime every day during the week. On the south side of the park is an old-fashioned carousel ($2) where kids can ride fanciful rabbits and frogs instead of horses, and attend storytellings and magic shows. Big kids can play with the park's selection of lawn and tabletop games, which includes everything from Quoits and Scrabble to Chinese Checkers and Scandinavian Kubb. Come November the park rolls out the artificial frozen "pond" (Nov.–Mar., Sun–Thurs. 8 am–10 pm, Fri. and Sat. 8 am–midnight; skate rental $15) for ice skating. Surrounding the ice rink are the Christmas market–like stalls of the Holiday Shops, selling handcrafted goods and local foods.
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