Bryant Park

Many things that we own in common are invisible, yet in plain sight.

Apologies, this lock is currently out of order
Before you go: This site is more exciting at night.

Street Address: 41st St and 6th Ave
Hours: 7a–11p, daily

Getting there: 7, N, Q, R, S, W, 1, 2, 3 trains to Time Sq–42nd St; B, D, F, V to 42nd St–Bryant Park

Once you arrive at the entrance to the park at 6th Ave and 41st St: walk up the stairs toward the fountain. If you stand facing the fountain at its base, there will be a streetlamp to your left near the ‘wichcraft kiosk.

Your key will unlock: the metal box at the base of this lamppost. Flip the switch!

View Key to the City in a larger map


  1. June says:

    I lite up the st, next would like to lite up the world! My first box!!! :D

  2. Melissa says:

    Thank you Creative Time and Paul Ramirez Jonas…I can’t wait to explore the city…As much as this goes in history…why did you not consider have a NYC or Statue of Liberty logo on the key as a more memorable symbol? Hope to hear your comment…

  3. Denise says:

    If someone has turned on the light and turned it off before you, I think there is a grace period of about 5-10 minutes before you can turn on the light again. I also like that some individuals have left cards and mementos in the box as well.

  4. Dave says:

    This was our second box of the day. With all the activity in the area, some French tourists asked us about the box. I hope they understood our explanation. Great day in the city today! Thanks to all involved!!

  5. zuzupetals says:

    So I ran over after work, all excited, and I opened the box – already filling up with business cards – and I flipped the switch and…it sort of flickered, and then I couldn’t tell if it was on or not. Is the lamp on a light sensor? I guess I’ll have to try this one again.

  6. KEG says:

    Great first box! Night time is necessary to enjoy this one.

  7. We’re so excited to be involved in this wonderful project!

    A note for those who unlock the box at our site: once you’ve flipped the light switch on, it does take a minute for the bulb to reach full brightness. Standard street lamps take a little time to warm up, but if you wait you will get the full effect.

  8. jaye bea smalley says:

    The kids loved felt privelaged being able to open the box and turn on the light as people looked at us with amazement and curiosity. We were delighted to find all of the notes inside the box as well.

  9. Tom Wall says:

    I was there this past Wednesday, 6/16, and the box seemed to be gone. Anyone else notice this?

  10. Gary says:

    I went there with my friend Nia on 6/12 and although we flipped the switch nothing happened. If we had known about the warmup time for the light we’d have waited (it wasn’t mentioned in the guidebook). But all was not lost – we read one of the notes someone left behind, and we shared the Art experience (Nia opened the box and I locked it).

  11. iCeLiNg says:

    The light does not turn on automatically when you flick the switch. It takes probably around 5-10 minutes or so for it to light up. I’ve been to the box twice, it seems that when the box is full someone empties everything out and new stuff are left inside. I wonder who empties the box content. Does anyone know? Anyways, It is very nice at Night time and people around who doesn’t know what’s going on will ask what the heck we are doing. It’s quite nice to be able to turn on something in the city. lol… For those who don’t know, flipping the switch up = ON and flipping it down = OFF.

  12. My son opened up this box first. The lock is a little tight and the box was filled with memorabilia left by other keyholders, which is just incredible.

    The light does take a little bit of time to turn itself on (it does go off quickly, though).

    It would be awesome to see all the stuff that was left in there in an online picture collection. There was some truly creative work in there.

  13. Tracy Edwards says:

    We barely got there before the park closed at midnight, and had to wait a few minutes till others were done. My key wouldn’t open the box! Luckily my friend’s did. Because the park was closing we couldn’t wait the time necessary for the light to come back on from the other people. So we read some of the notes left inside and left our own note. My key did lock the box with a lot of effort.
    It was our first lock, and even though it didn’t work out perfectly, it was still fun.

  14. Minna Pinger says:

    My son’s girlfriend, Julie, and I are doing this together and Bryant Park was our first lock. We went there right after we collected and exchanged our keys and passports. We saw some other key holders there and one girl was explaining what the key story was to an hispanic man whose english was limited and who looked like he might have spent a few nights in Bryant Park. In addition to the key information, he also wanted a cigarette. I did see him heading in the direction of the booth about 20 minutes later although he stopped to ask for another cigarette on the way so who knows how far he got. I thought it was cool to participate in something that brings all the people of NY into contact with one another, whether it’s to talk keys or cigarettes.

    We opened the box and there were several tokens from other key holders including one clean, but none the less, disgusting feminine hygiene product which was a bummer. Anyone else have any encounters like that? We were not daunted however and are excited to check out the other locks.

  15. veedub says:

    thx to whoever left the note saying: “u did not break the lamp!” if it weren’t for that we might not have waited the 10 min till the light came on. so fun, tho it felt a little “evil” turning the light off (it was on when we got there) to turn it back on again – ha!

  16. La Musique says:

    Switch is a good idea, found a lot of notes there.
    Helped to open the cabinet for others. The key is difficult to turn.

  17. erin says:

    i went today and my key didn’t open the box…

  18. lisa says:

    I waited til it got dark and took my kids to open the box – after going to the GW bridge where there is no key – and neither of my kids’ keys would open the box!! We did enjoy being at Bryant Park at night but was such a bummer that it wouldnt even unlock. Is this one broken?

  19. The Wings says:

    On June 29, we found the lamp and opened the box. This was the beginning of a fun summer. Thanks

  20. STeve says:

    I missed out on getting a key! Would anyone want to copy the key? I will pay for the cost of the key copy.

  21. nicole tammelleo says:


    I would love to get a key from someone if possible. I am happy to pick it up and pay for the cost…

  22. Theresa says:

    I was there tonight and my key fit into the lock but the lock would not turn! I am so disappointed.

  23. Tiff says:

    It was a cool experience, but had a bad experience when other groups came by and interrupted our moment. People need to stand on line or learn to wait!!!!

  24. Mari J says:

    If any one would like to copy their key please let me know! I am willing to pick it up from you and cover the costs for having it copied. Thanks!

  25. L.A. says:

    Make sure you flip the switch before the park closes!!!

  26. Unseen NYC says:

    We went not realizing that the lock was out of order. We got our key in, but it would not turn. This was on Saturday night, the 31st. Still a pretty cool experience.

  27. Theresa says:

    I tried again a couple of nights ago and my key worked! It was way cool. The park itself was wonderful == great people-watching.

    I do suggest that after you turn the light on, turn it back off before you leave, just to make the next person’s experience one of discovery. I had to turn the light off before I could turn it back on.

  28. teager says:

    Is this ever going to be operational? Is anyone maintaining the project?

  29. Tom Wall says:

    I stopped by this site on Thursday 8/19 and it was working just fine: the box opened, the switch worked, and the light turned on after about five minutes. Really fun to do. Of course, all of the regulars in the park were amazed. :-)

  30. Andrew says:

    I stopped by tonight (8/27) and it was working fine. The light was on when I arrived, so I turned it off, then back on again. It took a several long minutes for the light to come back on (more than five, at least). Perhaps that’s why it keeps getting reported as broken? I turned it off again when I left, as I heard we’re supposed to. So if you’re headed that way, be patient!

  31. Carmen Guzman says:

    Got to the park with three of my siblings, but there was a broken key in the lock on 28 August. We, therefore, were unable to turn the light on! Sigh…

  32. Ryan Terrence says:

    There was a broken key in the lock on August 30th and I really wanted to take a picture of the inside before the event ends.

  33. Jenne German says:

    Went to the light today. Broken, I will return to see if they fixed it. What a bummer.

  34. Jersey Girl says:

    Still broken this evening. ;-(

  35. fabricio & maciel says:

    still broken, sucks