Before 2010, urban beekeeping was banned in New York City. When that regulation was lifted, in conjunction with a trend towards urban agriculture, beekeeping became an it-trend. In New York City, you can find bees of the non-aggressive Apis mellifera species in some of the most surprising places: the United Nations garden, in Green-Wood Cemetery, atop the Javits Center, and now, you can see bees buzzing through a live cam from the hives atop a roof of One Bryant Park.
Operated by the Durst Organization, One Bryant Park is full of sustainability measures, including a co-generation power plant inside. The beehives went live in 2013, starting with just two boxes. Now, there are ten boxes on a seventh-floor rooftop, which start with about 12,000 bees in each box at the beginning of the season and ending at about 50,000. This means each year at the peak, there are about 500,000 bees pollinating at One Bryant Park. The top of the boxes spell out the words DURST HIVES.
The honey made by the bees on the building are used to stock the concessions at the cafeterias inside One Bryant Park and One Five One (also owned by the Durst Organization). Little jars are also given out as gifts. The honey flavor is smooth and floral – and delicious.
We recently went to visit the beehives with Jordan Barowitz, Vice President of Public Affairs at the Durst Organization and John M. Schutz, also from Durst. Barowitz tells us that the real estate company has beehives mostly for the fun of it. The Live Cam is also streaming on a big screen at the elevator banks next to the cafeteria in 4 Times Square, alternating with a video about the beekeeping operation.
There are actually two views of the BeeCam. Above, you can see the bees buzzing in and out of the box. In the view below, you see the view in the middle of the boxes looking out onto the rooftop.
Here are a few more photos from the rooftop:
Photo courtesy John M. Schutz