Two-Hundred Ninety-One

October 9, 2016

This week, from about Wednesday until Friday, promised to have that perfect Autumn weather the northeast is known for- and wow did the weather gods deliver!  It never reached above 72 degrees, the humidity was near zero, winds were very light…..  ok, you get the point.  So we went out.

Matil found out that the NY Public Library recently re-opened the grand reading room after a lengthy rehabilitation project.  While we believe that much has been done to refurbish the interior- it was by no means worn out prior to the project.  As a result, we did not see changes but we were very happy to see the room reopened at any rate.

Everything about this building, made possible by countless donations from the biggest families in New York (Like Astor), is done to a level of absolute perfection that is so rarely seen today.  I say rarely, but as far as I can tell I should really save never.  The ceiling outside the grand reading room is a marvel.  And would ya just look at this door?201210_mkw_4511

It is simply magnificent and if I am not mistaken, it is all bronze!  While reading about its history, I found an interesting answer to a question I had about the reason I had to climb 3 large stair banks to reach the level of the grand reading room.  The answer lies in this architectural cross section of the building:


NYPL Art and Picture Collection, 1911

The wooden counter that you see in the distance in the first photograph is actually in the middle of the reading room- not at the end of it.  That gives you an idea of its size.  In the middle of that counter lies a mechanical book elevator that travels between the seven subfloors where all the books are stored!  Simply amazing.

You can read a bunch more about the history, including some interesting photos, by clicking through here to get to their website.  For now, I’ll continue along with this blog post as there is more to discuss!


For instance: take a look at these two photos.  They were both taken from about the same position in the card catalogue room and shooting out the same window.  I took the darker silhouette-frame photograph in 2010 and the lighter image was captured this week.

“The only constant in the world, is change.”

I wish this new generic skyscraper was not ascending to a towering height just outside this window, and I am sure that is a feeling shared by the library staff who work at the counter that faces out this window!  Can you imagine a time when the view from your home or office was suddenly and irrevocably changed by some outside force and in a negative manner?  Something like that will forever alter the mood in the home or workplace and it will begin the new round of, “Back in my day…” commentary that we all know so well.

A grand library, indeed.

Looking down 42nd Street at the Chrysler Tower from the public library.

Outside, I found this woman basking in the final few days of pure sunshine before we enter our annual five months of grey skies and knife-sharp ice-laden air.  For my part, I am working to capture as much color and life as I possibly can before the winter arrives and I must once again relish in the virtues of black and white photography.

Thanks for reading guys!  Our afternoon continued in a fantastic manner, but I’d like to reserve that post for tomorrow.  So check back!

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