The above photos are interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image.
Bryant Park has seen many evolutions over its 150+ years. Before being named for William Cullen Bryant in 1884 it was simply called Reservoir Square due to its adjacency to the Croton Reservoir which stood where the New York Public Library now resides. Even after receiving its modern name, the park has changed wildly over the decades. The photos above show a period during which a demonstration garden was planted near the eastern end of the open space. The west side of the park was perpetually in shadow during this period due to the Sixth Avenue Elevated that had been there since the late 1870's.