2. Bryant Park Was Once Nicknamed Needle Park
The arrival of the elevated train on Sixth Avenue in 1878 spelled the beginning of a long decline for Bryant Park, as a shadow was cast on the park making it less desirable. Robert Moses attempted to revitalize the park in the 1930s via a redesign that included adding hedges and an iron fence, which had the inadvertent effect of making it a haven for illicit activity.
By the 1970s, drug dealing, prostitution and homelessness were the defining characteristics of Bryant Park, which was nicknamed “Needle Park.” As the Bryant Park Corporation writes today, “By 1979, New York seemed to have given up Bryant Park for lost as an urban amenity, as well as an historic site.” But new programming in the park began in the late 1970s, the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation was created in 1980, and a redesign of the park was completed by 1992.