The Bryant Park fountain in midtown Manhattan turned into a crystal jewel as the temperature in New York fell to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius) overnight on Jan. 30. A torrent of snow and high winds whipped the city and the iconic fountain froze, a symbol of winter’s arrival in the city.
“It’s beautiful, it’s frozen! It’s kind of symbolic, and you know it’s kind of like a staple of mid-town I think, the frozen fountain,” said Lauren Alex, a New Yorker who was on her way to a library nearby.
Lauren is a frequent visitor to Bryant Park and has been taking pictures of the frozen fountain every year. “This is one area of midtown that’s not covered by buildings and this is one of my favorite places in the city and just enjoy it in all its glory even though it’s freezing cold,” she said.
Unlike Lauren, Irma Labiosa, 32, has never seen the frozen fountain before, even though she has lived in New York her whole life. “It’s my first time. I’m so excited. I’m from Brooklyn, but I never thought to come out here just to see the fountain because it’s too cold and I’m never going out there.
“But my mom insisted and I’m excited because I took a lot of pictures and I know my friends are gonna to be so jealous,” Labiosa said. She feels the frozen fountain has a message to give to the world.
“I would wish for, as everyone would say, ‘world peace’ just peace everywhere, that’s what I would really love. … A lot of calmness and serenity and when you just look at it, it just takes you away from here and it’s just a real peace, yea it’s real mellow, so I love it,” Labiosa said.
On Thursday morning as the sun rose over Manhattan, a steady stream of commuters and tourists poured over the frozen icon. A few pigeons roosted on the top as the still unfrozen and flowing part of the fountain dripped over the frozen crust. Pennies and quarters stared through the unfrozen water below.
Neil, 5, was also there with his mother Vnithya for his birthday. “We are celebrating Neil’s fifth birthday here. … I wanted to take him on skating and then we did it and then we [are] here. This one is so cool,” Vnithya said, pointing at the fountain.
Vnithya lives nearby in Manhattan but it was also her first time to see the frozen fountain. “It does remind me of a frozen tree, like out of a waterfall, just frozen in time,” she said.
Lauren thinks Bryant Park is special in every season: summer, autumn, and spring, and that the fountain takes on a new life each time as the weather changes.
“It’s just symbolic of the city and I think a lot of people come here and don’t expect the extreme temperature that we have here. I’m used to it but I think it’s kind of icon of Manhattan and midtown in general, Bryant Park and the fountain itself,” Lauren said as she happily clicked pictures and selfies of her with the fountain as the backdrop.