BRYANT PARK, the 9.5 acre green space next to and behind the New York City Library building at Fifth Avenue, is probably best known to urban planners for the story of its remarkable transformation from a high-crime, blighted, place in the 1970’s to one of the most successful public spaces in the world today.
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NARRATOR: Dan Biederman is one of the nation’s foremost experts in the design and management of urban spaces. A founder of New York City’s Bryant Park Corporation, the 34th Street Partnership and the Grand Central Partnership, he currently serves as president of the first two of those mid-Manhattan organizations. Through his private consulting firm, BRV Corp., he has contributed to the planning and management of public spaces and parks in communities in twenty-three states. Mr. Biederman is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University, with an A.B. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1975. He also earned an M.B.A. with Distinction from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business Administration in 1977.
Podcast I Introduction and Walkabout (4:06)
In this podcast Dan Biederman introduces Bryant Park as one of the few entirely privately funded parks in the country, and the only one in New York City. As the visiting planner strolls around the park, Dan points out revenue generating features (such as the kiosk sponsored by Southwest Airlines) and the activities programming that his team oversees and that serves neighborhood park users and visitors alike.
Podcast II How the Park’s Success is Funded (2:57)
Biederman notes that “every penny” of the park’s $24 million annual budget is used in the upkeep of the capital plant, landscaping amenities, security and staffing. Of the park’s five revenue sources the smallest is the contribution from the Business Improvement District (BID)—dues levied on 33 buildings facing the park—which is kept modest to “reward the property owners who supported us early and provided early seed money for this project.”
Podcast III Neighborhood Effects (3:49)
The previous podcast describes the neighborhood inputs that help ensure the Bryant Park’s ongoing success. In this segment, Dan explores how neighboring tenants, owners and employees have benefited from the Park’s restoration and success.
The photos below are all courtesy of the Bryant Park Corporation.