Jan-Mar: daily, 7am-7pm; Apr and Nov-Dec: daily, 7am-10pm; May-Sep: daily, 7am-11pm; Oct: daily, 7am-8pm
7 at Fifth Ave.; B, D, F, M at 42nd St.-Bryant Park
Bryant Park, backyard to the main branch of the New York Public Library, has established itself as one of the city’s foremost outdoor cultural hubs. In warm weather, the centerpiece football field-sized Great Lawn teems at midday with thousands of nature-starved office workers. Fashionable lunch groups nosh on salads/wraps at sun-soaked tables on the fountain terrace while industrialists clack away on their laptops—thanks to free wireless internet. Stroller pushers and neighborhood old-timers lounge in green wooden folding chairs that are strewn about the graveled promenades and the shady flowerbeds west of the lawn. Often overlooked are the Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe bust, hidden by the park's carousel on the south side, and the Gertrude Stein sculpture, which overlooks the lawn from the upper terrace. On summer evenings, the enormously popular HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival attracts a blankets-wielding mob to the lawn for free screenings of classic movies. In spring and fall, the park is transformed into a tented fortress for Fashion Week. The holidays also bring a caravan of more than 200 seasonal gift shops. Between the manicured landscape, free summer concerts/films, and the eats offered at the Bryant Park Grill and Café, the neglect and petty crime that characterized this park in decades past has become a distant memory.Le Carrousel
If you've got kids in tow or you live in midtown, it's a cheap thrill. Daily, 11 a.m.—8 p.m., weather permitting; one ride, $2
Outdoor Reading Room
An extensive selection of books, periodicals, and newspapers are available for kids and adults. Apr-Oct: daily, 11 a.m.—7 p.m., weather permitting.