I had a few hours to kill after work and wandered into the New York Public Library; the big branch on 42nd Street and Madison Avenue. They were open until 8:00 p.m. that evening and I needed a place to get out of the cold. If you go to the third floor, you’ll find a huge reading room with high, carved wood ceilings and big windows that let light pour in. The long oak tables have electrical outlets built right into the tabletops so you can plug in. Plus, there’s a Gutenberg bible on permanent display in a glass case at the entrance to the reading room. You don’t stumble across that ever day!
These photos of the main entrance off of 42nd Street make it look like a mausoleum or a crypt. It’s the fault of my camera; it’s not poor lighting or design. It looks more grand in person.
The city is getting all dolled up for the Christmas season. I love this time of year and, believe me, it has nothing whatsoever to do with religion. The town looks great and people really do seem lighter.
The sign carved into the stone at the balcony, right at the tip of the Christmas tree, says Astor Cort. In the 19th century, the Astors were the wealthiest family in America and they financed this library, along with other public works. The Waldorf-Astoria, Astoria, Queens and Astor Place in the East Village are among the dozens of places that bear their name. The reward for all that philanthropic work was to lose John Jacob Astor IV on the maiden voyage of the Titanic.
I stumbled upon a fantastic photography exhibit that’s worth your time x 100 if you’re in the neighborhood. I didn’t even know it was going on! NYC: a surprise around every corner. Recollection: Thirty Years of Photography at the New York Public Library is up through January 2nd. I thought it would be a pedestrian collection of pics but I was wrong. All the heavies are represented: Robert Capa, Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Margaret Bourke-White, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee and tons more. So fun. And it’s FREE! FREE! FREE!