bryant park is another one of those beautiful small oases in new york where you can go and disappear at least when there are no major events going on (like fashion week). one of my favorite things in the park is their beautiful le carrousel which is rarely busy, is super affordable and goes round and round to the sounds of french cabaret music.
if you want to be fed before the summer movies, there are plenty of options both to take in or just eat nearby before hand. within the park is the somewhat weird collaboration with southwest airlines — southwest porch. basically, this is sit down ‘wichcraft food (usually good) brought to us somehow via the airlines. j’s experience here was mixed though. if you want to have a super early fancy meals, there are some strong options like aureoleand db bistro moderne.
and then there are lots of cheap eats some of which i’ve highlighted below. zach brooks, the man behind the great blog midtown lunch also nicely pointed me to a profile of some nearby options that he did in 2008 including cafe zaiya (good for japanese desserts), and a few other carts. all but fashion soup and starwich are still going strong from that list. and as for shopping nearby, there is not too much of interest nearby except for some of the big stores like lord & taylor (which i always like for their dress selection). below, i found a couple of smaller places that might be worth checking out, and also mentioned a few other fun things to do to fill up your time nearby if bryant park is your primary destination.
la cense burger truck: a little further afield, but the grassfed burgers that come from this truck are supposed to be pretty excellent. the truck roams along park avenue most of the time in the 40s. follow it on twitter for more exact locations.
kati roll: pictured above, these little burrito like items are a bit on the greasy side, but the fillings are tasty, it’s relatively cheap and it satisfies an indian hankering andthere is a little room for sitting inside. 49 west 39th street between 5th and 6th avenues, manhattan, new york, 212.730.4280.
kwik meal: this serious vendycontender is one i really really want to try. supposedly, the cart has amazing ground lamb andrice served with a yogurt and papaya sauce. 45th street near 6th avenue, manhattan, new york, 646.729.8702.
new york public library: with one of the most beautiful reading rooms around, this library makes me want to go and study again. the library sponsors interesting talks (coming up this fall are oliver sacks and barbara kingsolver) and there are often interesting exhibits in the main hall as well. main entrance on 5th avenue between 40th and 42nd streets, manhattan, new york, 917.275.6975.
domus: although i have never been, this home and gift store with a mission seems worth a visit to check out and see what cute children’s things they have on offer, unique handmade goods and some more unusual candles. 412 west 44th street at 9th avenue, manhattan, new york, 212.581.8099.
hyman hendler & sons: this shop is full of ribbons. maybe not the usual destination, but i think it might be fun to go check it out, and given how much crafting is out there these days even i have been tempted to try a few very very easy things. this might be the place to get me started. 21 west 38th street between 5th and 6th avenues, manhattan, new york, 212.840.8393.
international center of photography: located just diagonally across the street from bryant park, this small museum presents classic and sometimes more emerging photographers in a beautiful intimate setting. current shows include avedon fashion and john wood: quiet protest. 1133 avenue of the americas at 43rd street, manhattan, new york, 212.857.0000.