Sites of the city

Time Square is lovely -- from a safe distance

I’m a Brooklyn snob. I like to sip lattes in calm Brooklyn cafes, and I  hate going to Manhattan, with its crowds and noise. When visitors want to see Time Square I groan inwardly and sometimes outwardly.

There are times, though, when I’m in Manhattan and I realize why people love it — the lights, the glamour, the city glitter. Tonight was one of those nights.

I met friend M. at Le Pain Quotidien in Bryant Park — a chain but a nice one (Lily O’Brien’s Chocolate Cafe, which is nearby, is nice too — if you tell the owner you’re Irish he might even give you a free coffee). Bryant Park is where you should always meet people if you’re in mid-town. It’s a few streets from the (awful) Time Square and along all the bus and subway routes. The park itself is gorgeous. In summer, it plays host to outdoor films, performance art and musical events; it has a number of cafes, and free wifi. Swish businessfolk munch sandwiches alongside homeless people and city characters, all taking advantage of the amenities. Plus it’s right beside the wonderful Public Library, which is one of New York’s great institutions (currently desperate for funds). Even without a library card you can go right in, sit, use the internet, or read. I recommend it to any travelling scholar or tourist.

Later in the evening I walked around the park and took pictures. And remembered why people like Manhattan.

Update: Oct 14, American Planning Associate votes Bryant Park one of the US’s great spaces.

Beside the park, with a cop as part of the scenery

Inside the park

The place where you get sandwiches

The wonderful Central Library (Schwarzman building)

Library, Schwarzman Building

505 Fifth Avenue -- it just looked pretty

Mid-town sky

Fountain in the park

Time Square again, from a distance

5 Responses to “Sites of the city”
  1. Fionnuala says:

    I love your NY articles. Whenever I read one, I find myself longing to go there again. Two friends of mine are visitung NY for the first time (separately) this autumn. I must pass on your tips.

    • Frieda says:

      Thanks for the lovely comment Fionnuala. New York is truly beautiful, though there’s a lot of poverty here too … Yesterday at the subway station I sat beside a man who was painfully thin. It puts all the supposed glamour in context.

  2. omnivorish says:

    Gorgeous photos! I love the purpliness of it all.

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  1. […] but it’s much classier than the Times Square area and separated from it by the lovely Bryant Park. The Waldorf-Astoria is there, and banks like JP Morgan-Chase. It’s a walk, or a few swift […]

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