Early Bryant Park
Bryant was a leading light in nineteenth century New York
During World War I, Bryant Park was the site of one of the city’s largest public gardens. Planted by the National War Garden Commission and War Garden Committee of Manhattan, these victory gardens sought to involve citizens in food production and boost morale. Around the same time, the park was also home to the Eagle Hut, a facility built and operated by the Y.M.C.A. that provided a home away from home to soldiers and
Construction of the Flushing subway line along West 42nd Street closed the north side of Bryant Park for most of the 1920s, leading to a period of neglect for the small urban park. In 1932, it was chosen as the site for the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth.
The Bicentennial committee built a wood and plaster replica of old Federal Hall, the Wall Street building in which Washington took the oath of office as the first U.S. President. A reenactment of that inauguration was staged there on April 30, 1932. Responding to an open completion, Queens, NY architect Lusby Simpson submitted a redesign of Bryant Park featuring a classical scheme of a large central lawn, formal pathways, stone balustrades and borers of London Plane trees, together with an oval plaza at the west end containing the existing Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain.
New York City’s powerful Parks Commissioner, Robert Moses, and his staff, including architect Aymar Embury II and landscape architect Gilmore D. Clarke, oversaw execution of Simpson’s plan. The park was completed and opened to the public in September 1934. Shortly after, the New York Public Library established and outdoor reading room on the terrace at the eastern end of the park. In good weather, staffers moved stacks and book carts outside for readers to browse.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in
Location. 40° 45.22′ N, 73° 59.068′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of West 40th Street and 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas). This marker is located in Bryant Park which is bounded by West 42nd Street, 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas), West 40th Street and the New York Public Library. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10018, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Benito Juarez (within shouting distance of this marker); Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain (within shouting distance of this marker); The Garment District Mural (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Buildings Overlooking Bryant Park (about 300 feet away); The Crystal Palace (about 300 feet away); American-Standard Building (about 300 feet away); Reservoir Square (about 300 feet away); Mercury Theatre (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Also see . . .
1. Bryant Park is Born - Bryantparkorg. In 1884, Reservoir Square was renamed Bryant Park, to honor recently deceased Romantic poet, longtime editor of the New York Evening Post, and civic reformer, William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878). (Submitted on July 3, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.)
2. The 1911 William Cullen Bryant Statue - Bryant Park. "Daytonian in Manhattan" entry. (Submitted on April 8, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 9, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 3, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 362 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 3, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.