The Dresden Files New York City
Aspect Neutral Ground
Bryant Park, and the attached NYPL main branch, is Neutral Ground. It was only recently accorded as such during the large refurbishing of the two undertaken in the 1980’s. The NYPL main branch during this large refurbishment shut down the Park initially, excavated, and added 125,000 square feet of space and literally miles of bookshelf space below the ground of the Park right under what would become the central Main Lawn. The Park and Library’s surrounding monuments were then redesigned and repositioned to create Neutral Ground on the then newly recreated Bryant Park. Bryant Park is considered one of the public parks in connection to the larger NY Parks system but unlike Central Park or Riverside Park it is in fact privately owned by a controlling board (one of which was in the know and hired the architect to redesign the park AS Neutral Grounds).
In previous years Bryant Park has been a Potter’s Field during the American Revolution, Army training grounds during the American Civil War, the famous Crystal Palace (which tragically burned to the ground), and then was created as a park in the early 20th Century. The NYPL Main Branch was initially the Croton Reservoir before the creation of the Baroque building between 1902 and 1911 when it was opened to the public. The extended underground stacks of the Library, constructed under the Main Lawn of the Park, houses some of the best accumulated writings on magic on its lowest levels within which Neutral Ground construction is especially rigid and centered.
At the beginning of the Vampire-White Council War in 2001, the Main Library closed off access to its stacks and all the books housed there, making vague mention to the public about some kind of lead and facade work being undertaken. After the demise of the Red Court, the Main Library has announced that it is under imminent re-opening to the public once more.
Thirteen Monuments Surrounding the Park and the Main Library are thirteen monuments, excluding the famous Lions. On the front of the Library, on the Library Terrace, there are the two fountains called “Truth” (on the Southern, left side) and “Beauty” (on the Northern, right side) along with four famous bronze flagpole bases designed by the Tiffany studios. On the Upper Terrace, on the Eastern end of the Park backing the Library, there is the William Cullen Bryant Memorial. On the North Lawn, there is the bronze state of William Earl Dodge. The Fountain Terrace, on the Western end of the Park facing the street, is the large pink granite Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain flanked by the two bronze statues of Jose Bonifacio de Andrada Silva and Benito Juarez. On the South Lawn, there are the bronze busts of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Gertrude Stein.
The Gardens and Great Lawn Surrounding the Great Lawn are twenty-six smaller patches of garden. The Great Lawn itself was laid with variegating grass turf to create a pattern that would dispel magical energy.
Amenities and Attractions There is the famous Le Carrousel, which was constructed with thirteen animal menageries along with thirteen brass poles laid throughout. There is also a Chess Area with a concession stand that provides the public with chess, checkers, backgammon, and Scrabble boards (along with more esoteric games for the older and foreign magical entities that visit). There is also the Reading Room on the Northern side of the Park wherein there is housed a collection of reading material from which visitors can choose to take out onto the lawn and read. There are also playing areas for Petanque and Ping-Pong.
Food There are seven main areas from which visitors can purchase food. You have the two larger, more restaurant-like Bryant Park Grill and Bryant Park Cafe within which one can sit for a more elaborate and proper food setting if you so choose. There is also the Southwest Porch, which has more of an outdoor cafe vibe. Then there are the four stands appropriately called ’wichcraft from which visitors can purchase yummy soups, salads, sandwiches, coffee, pastries, and various breakfast items to eat within the confines of the Park itself. The four kiosks and the three larger food venues are set around the Park in a more purposeful pattern then would initially meet the eye to those “not in the know.”
The Lions The Lions on the front of the Library facing Fifth Avenue on the Library Terrace were created by Edward Clark Potter, and sculpted by the Piccirilli brothers (who are famous for creating other important monuments throughout the city), of pink Tennessee marble. Initially named Leo Astor and Leo Lenox they were officially nicknamed “Patience” and “Fortitude” in the 1930’s by the then city mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. In the 1970’s, right before the Park and Library were officially sanctioned as Neutral Ground, the movie The Wiz came out in which one of the lions comes alive and joins in the adventures. Obviously, someone had watched the movie when Neutral Ground was accorded because a large amount of power and money went into taking the previously carved lions and transforming them into magical constructs similar to golems. Patience, on the Southern side of the Library entrance, and Fortitude, on the Northern side of the entrance, activate in the presence of magical energy or power to either act as Guardians in the case that someone does not respect the area as Neutral Ground or as simply Gatekeepers in the case of late night meetings within which those who enter must pass scrutiny. Since their names were intertwined into their creation, somehow they ended up with personalities similar to their nicknames with Patience being more serene and knowledgeable of countenance and Fortitude being more fiery and probing.
Face Janitor and Groundskeeper, Alfred Rassan tends to the Park and Library maintaining the Lions, cleaning the monuments, going through the special collections in the basement of the extended underground stacks of the Library, etc. No one really seems to know much about Alfred and he appears to prefer it that way, barely speaking with visitors though he is the authority on directions when underground especially. However, one thing that is known is that Alfred is most certainly “in the know” as it were since he was obviously hired for the reason of maintaining the Park/Library AS Neutral Ground rather than simply keeping it clean. Alfred is older and appears to be about mid-50’s with a bit of a slightly well weathered but working man appearance. Caucasian, close shaven light colored hair, 6’4" with some muscle mass on a taller frame with larger hands and shoulders. Alfred is never seen outside of his janitor jumpsuit with his requisite reading glasses always in his front breast pocket under his nametag.