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Browse Along Bryant Park on 6th Avenue and 40th Street in New York City

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 3/2/2010 - www.Littleviews.com ]

>>  Bryant Park, located next to the monumental New York Public Library, provides a gracious place to relax, meet friends, eat picnic-style lunches, attend special events, and see iconic views.

Shopping and dining in the area is also lively, especially near Bryant Park's southern side (marked on the map below by dark, blue dashes). There you'll find high-quality boutiques, a huge, stimulating Japanese book and gift shop, and great places to eat, from snacks to full dinners. Please use this article as a rough guide. Once you visit in person, I'm sure you'll find more.

Map - Bryant Park area of focus for this article

Iconic Views

The block that Bryant Park fills is free of tall buildings, and because there are no obstacles, the area provides you with the opportunity to look up and around without hindrance. There you'll see a skyscape of New York City's most iconic views that include old (Chrysler and Empire State Buildings) and new (Bank of America Tower), alike.

The picture below, which looks east from the corner of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue, is an example of the drama you'll encounter, especially when you consider how such views are often reflected by other buildings!

Looking south-east from the same corner, you'll see the famous Bryant Park Hotel, which you'll learn about later in this article. Like many New York skyscrapers, once you walk directly in front of it, you'll forget how tall and lavishly decorated it is.

Kinokuniya Bookstore - Japanese books and really cool things

Strolling south on 6th Avenue, between 41st and 40th Streets, you'll find the incredible Kinokuniya Book Store. Walk in! The inside of this Japanese store is far more captivating than its exterior. It features three floors of unique books, paper crafts including origami, Japanese wrapping papers, art, gifts, stationery, frames, DVDs, music, toys, t-shirts, and a sun-dappled coffee shop.

The shop sells books and magazines in Japanese and English, with many Japanese publications loaded with pictures. Fashion, tattoo/body art, and architecture, for example, are three subjects are best expressed visually (just remember to browse through these publications from right to left, starting at the back). You'll also find books in both languages that express Japanese culture, cooking, landscaping, and art.

Kinokuniya Bookstore, New York, NYMany of the products you find here are highly unique. During a recent visit, for example, I bought a $5.50, 5-inch square "play package." Inside, it contained flat transportation images (cars, trucks, trains, etc.) meant to be folded into shape, a play road-map, and a "visual" Japanese origami guide (you can't read it, but you can figure it out).

Pictured here are my 2-1/2 and 4-year old grandchildren playing with a few pieces from the set. They love it! You'll find an array of these sets on Kinokuniya's second floor.

Also on the second floor are highly graphical, art-related books. There I purchased 100 Girls on Cheap Paper - Drawings by Tina Berning, a 7x9 inch book filled with contemporary drawings, but no words. Every drawing is appropriate for framing, making it a great house warming gift.

All three floors, however, are interesting, with books, gifts, toys on each level. If you want to explore more Japanese culture, however, take a NJ Transit Bus to the related Kinokuniya Shopping Center at 595 River Road in Edgewater, New Jersey (within seven miles from the Lincoln Tunnel), one of only two such centers in the nation. There, you'll find a huge grocery store and numerous specialty shops. Most unusual specialty shop is an "auto shop" located in the grocery store building. It features hundreds of beautifully-scented, attractively-packaged, air fresheners!

Fashion and Style Row on 40th Street

The shops on 40th Street boarding Bryant Park radiate designer style and good taste (as in restaurants and snack shops). The boutique alice + olivia, for example, features Stacy Bendet's designs. Her black, white, and shades of gray casual collection all work together, especially when pared with mid-calf or ankle-length tights.

Le Pain Quotidien is part of an international bakery chain that specializes in crusty bread, bakery, and jams. It's always a reliably good place to stop in for snack or meal. Consider coffee and an assortment of toast, complemented with chocolate-hazelnut "butter" and homemade jam.

Nearby is Lily O'Brien's Chocolate Shop, where you can indulge in creatively mixed, rich, hot chocolate drinks, plus desserts and candy.

Continue strolling east on 40th Street to approach The Bryant Park Hotel, which is in the skyscraper seen earlier in this article. Make a point of examining its styling, including its restaurant and bar (by all means, linger for dinner and/or a drink).

After you've been inside of the hotel, walk across the street, then look up to view its front! Above the first story, you'll see exceptionally lusty gargoyles, which, when you interpret the images from left to right, tell the story of life at sea and the conquests thereof. For the best view, use binoculars, and for the best photos, use a telephoto lens.

You can find more information about this fascinating building by using the phrase American Radiator Building gargoyles NY in a search engine, or by clicking the blog, Forgotten Delights, to see detailed pictures.

Currently under scaffolding is SOHO Woman on the Park, one of the most beautiful boutiques in New York that caters to women of all sizes. This two-part store is situated on either side of a sophisticated, apartment entrance, and features hand-knit sweaters (knit by the boutique's owner), stunning jackets, go-with-everything pants, dazzling jewelry, and lush, leather handbags. Stop here to buy designer clothing at relatively affordable prices.

Continue walking east (also under the scaffolding) to Around the World Magazine Shop. This gigantic magazine shop it is jammed with international publications featuring fashion, art, interior design, and sports. Plan on browsing for at least an hour and return often! If you find yourself purchasing many unique magazines, ship them home via FedEx, which is conveniently on the same block.

Just east of Around the World is Zeytinz - Fine Food Market Place, a Turkish gourmet food market that features fresh Mediterranean dishes, including a wide variety of cheese, nuts, fruit, vegetables, fish, and meat, plus desserts. Dine in or select food for a picnic to be eaten in Bryant Park. Zeytinz also sells Turkish imported items that include hand-crafted dishes, tiles, copper utensils, olive-based soaps, and candles.

Bryant Park and the Bryant Park Cafe

While shopping on 40th Street is stimulating, make sure you keep your eye on Bryant Park as you stroll. Depending on the season, you'll see the lush park, complete with picnic tables and an antique marry-go-round, as well as some type of festivity, such as holiday bazaars, movie nights, and fashion shows.

Towering above Bryant Park at 42nd Street and 6th Avenue is the new Bank of America Building (you can see the foot of it on the left site of the picture that opened this article). When its wedge is lit up at night, the building looks like jewelry!

The most beautiful restaurant in the area (if not the city) is The Bryant Park Grill. The tables that line its windows provide stunning views of the park, the food is excellent, and the service smooth, whether you dine during their very reasonably-priced lunch period, or later in the evening. Amazingly, during the day you can stop in for as little as coffee or a few drinks. Highly recommended!

And of course, to the east of the Bryant Park Grill is the famous New York Public Library (renamed the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building). There, you can browse exhibits, wander through architecturally beautiful halls, and examine special collections, plus take kids to its exceptional children's library for story-reading time.

The library also features a large gift shop, where you can buy mementos of the area, plus other lovely items that reflect all things New York. For more information, read Littleviews' article, Visit the New York Public Library Gift Shop.


Questions or comments?
Karen Little

Article and photographs by Karen Little. First published on 3/2/2010. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.

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