Originally the site of massive reservoir that encompassed a whole city block, with walls as high as 50-feet. The structure was torn down later when there was no longer a need for it. It also made room for what became the Central Library (now named Stephen A. Schwarzman Library) and Bryant Park. In honor of William Cullen Bryant, a 19th century American man of letters, the park actually a storage area – buried deep beneath its ground are floors of shelving spaces measured at 40 miles long for the Central Library’s 15-million collection. It is an urban oasis for office workers around the densely packed mid-town area. It is also an event space, with free outdoor movies during the summer, temporary ice rink during the winter, and twice a year, the home of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week – New York.
Occupied the majority of the Central Lawn, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week – New York is housed in a temporary rigid tent structure built a week before. Affectionately known as “The Tent” to some, the interior space is outfitted with a large rotunda in front and 3 separate runways: The Salon, The Promenade, and the Tent, at its core. In many ways, it functions more like a large transportation hub, with information desk by the doors and staff members directing visitors to 1 of 3 runways on the inner part of the structure. And as in every year, the Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain acts as the centerpiece for the event.
Unfortunately, all this will come to an end this year. Fashion Week has outgrown the space provided. There is also the question of crowd control and safety. Come February of next year, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week – New York will move to its new home at Lincoln Center, with what organizer promises to be a more spacious environment. Thus, ending a 16 years affiliation with Bryant Park.