Let The Lions Roar!

or… as Patience  and  Fortitude say  “Come on in!” to the Main Branch of the New York Public Library!
Patience and Fortitude
Patience and Fortitude in front  of New York Public Library  (photo: The consortium/flickr C)
 And see the newly renovated Rose Main  Reading Room
Rose Main Reading Room
Rose Main Reading Room.  After being closed for two years for renovation is now open to the public.
“Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You!”

There is so much to say about this Main Branch of the New York Public Library on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, I couldn’t figure out where to begin.  And, these days, it’s not all about books! So my first suggestion is go to the NYPL website https://www.nypl.org/  and spend some time reading about everything this  Main Branch has to offer. Then, when you’re done, look up the other branches and other major facilities (see in Kay’s Notes)  and do the same thing.  I was amazed, I think you will be too. I’ve described below several sections of the Library, but, and a big but, there is so much that I haven’t touched upon.

93,000 free programs a year across its 92 locations, from author talks and performances to exhibitions. Meet your favorite author, hear a live concert, or find something new at the Library.”

” Good News!”

There’s a  “train” inside the Main  Library that delivers materials  in less than 5 minutes! “The cars pick up requested  materials from the newly-expanded Milstein Research Stacks   (underground under Bryant Park)  – which now have two levels that can hold up to 4 million research volumes – and deliver the materials to library staff in two locations: one on the first floor and the other in the Rose Main Reading Room. Staff then provide the materials to researchers for use in the library.”

“Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”

Check out The Map Room, established in 1898,  is according, to the NYPL, one of the world’s premier map collections in terms of size, scope,and  unique holdings…established in 1898 with more than 433,000 sheet maps. And the room itself is simply beautiful.

Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division
“Strawberry Fields Forever”
Index
Child’s Menu from 1907

Calling all foodies!  This main branch has over 45,000 menus dating from the  1840’s to the present.  They are also looking for volunteers to help with a major project for the collection to transcribe their historical restaurant menus so, as they put it, they can be more easily researched.  I haven’t done it yet, but it’s on my list. .   Go to Menus on the site – full details are there. menus@nypl.org

NYPL Lion SocksSpeaking of food…Amy’s Bread Cafe  has a location on the first floor  and don’t forget a stop at the Library Store  also on the first floor.   Lots of interesting things including these “lion” socks!

“The Best Things in Life are Free!”

Take the time to take the tour! Available everyday – check the website for times.  The Beau-Arts building itself is stunning and what it holds is beyond awesome.  Remember, the Library is free and in a city like New York costly  things are happening all the time, so knowing that there is a wonderful haven out there, to relax, to read, to learn, to be entertained and more and at no cost is, indeed, a New York treasure !

“I’ll See You Again”

Before I close, a post on nright-precous-daysthe New York Public Library wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention at least one book that I borrowed and  a note on what kind of wine I was drinking…rose’.  The lines below open the latest novel By Jay McInerney, Bright, Precious Days and took me by surprise.  Why?  Because I was in the midst of writing  this post, I  just had to figure out where to put it.  I decided to add it at the end.    So here it is…

“Once, not so very long ago, young men and women had come to the city because they loved books,  because they wanted to write novels or short stories or even poems, or because they wanted to be associated with the production  and distribution of those artifacts and with the people who created them. For those who haunted suburban libraries and provincial bookstores, Manhattan was the shining island of letters. “

And so it was and still is, as is the wonderful New York Public Library’s Main Branch  and the NYPL system itself.  If you haven’t been to one of these libraries lately or especially to the Main Branch, go and go again and keep going!

“To the Library and Beyond”
Psst… The Music Division  is at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center. Check it out !  Songs I use in this post  are in Kay’s Notes.
“The division has made the documentation of American classical and popular music a major priority. Collection efforts bring to the division a copy of almost every piece of classical and popular music published in the United States each year.”
Enjoy!  Love this City!

KAY’S NOTES:

Important to know: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (the main branch) “Dedicated on May 23, 1911, the majestic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, houses outstanding research collections in the humanities and social sciences, as well as a circulating children’s collection; and plays host to numerous talks and special events. Standing proudly before this Beaux-Arts building are “New York’s most lovable public sculptures, the lions Patience and Fortitude.”

 The New York Public Library System’s other three major locations.

(The) Library’s strength in three areas in particular is so great that major facilities have been built to house them: The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (LPA), at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in Harlem; and theScience, Industry and Business Library (SIBL), in midtown Manhattan.

Interesting to know:  Pew Research :http://www.pewresearch.org.

Americans are {also} divided on a fundamental question about how books should be treated at libraries: 24% support the idea of moving books and stacks in order to make way for more community- and tech-oriented spaces, while 31% say libraries should not move the books to create such spaces. About four-in-ten think libraries should maybe consider doing so.  Plus further from Pew Research: 80% of those ages 16 and older say libraries should “definitely” offer programs to teach people, including kids and senior citizens, how to use digital tools like computers and smartphones.  September, 2016

Good to know: http://www.jaymcinerney.com/  Author,Bright,Precious Days”   Besides his great  novels  on NYC, he is also a wine aficionado and has written several books on the subject along with a column in the Wall Street Journal.

Where to eat:  Amy’s on the first floor for light food, sandwiches, plus the surrounding area is packed with restaurants.

Restrooms: On the first floor.

Kid Friendly: Not in all parts, but definitely in the Children’s Room on the first floor.

How to get there: Bus, subway, walking are the best. Parking difficult and expensive.  Easy location on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.  Can’t miss it!

Music acknowledgments: “Getting to Know You” from  The King and I;” To the Library and Beyond” from Matilda, the musical; “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” by Burt Bacharach; “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles; “The Best Things in Life are Free” by Ray Henderson; “Good News” by Ray Henderson; “I’ll See You Again” by Sir Noel Coward

Credits: The NYPL’s website  was the source for the information about the libraries  on this page and all   photographs.

Disclaimer: I try for correct info on my posts, but no guarantees people.

 

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Sometimes…it just hits home!

Or who, or what, besides a  baseball player, can score a  home run?

Image result

 

“All the news that’s fit to print”…did it for me!

I’m an avid fan of the NY Times for a lot of reasons and one is because every once in a while the paper has a good news article or op-ed or editorial that just hits me  with an “aha” moment.  Recently, it  published an op-ed column,“Retire to Manhattan, Live Long“.  Aha, aha, aha! For me, that was more than a base hit that was an over the wall, with the bases loaded, home run! It’s  going to be my new bumper sticker, “Retire in Manhattan, Live Long”, if I had a car that is, which I don’t, so instead I’ll print it out and hang it on the wall  in my apartment.

Reading the column made me stand up… literally!  And say, “Thank you, Willard!”  One of my friends, who doesn’t live here,  recently said to me,  he didn’t think the City had a sense of community. “It sure does,” I said. I  told him about my neighborhood, but Willard Spiegelman, who wrote the 0p-ed, said it the best.

“Conventional wisdom holds that New Yorkers, like Parisians, are snooty, too busy to be approachable. Walking with speed and determination, they cannot be stopped. I have never found the stereotypes accurate. Manhattan is a series of small villages. It replicates itself every five blocks or so. The shoemaker, neighborhood market, barber shop, dry cleaners, liquor store all become part of one’s daily drill. You make friends in the shops.”

Now, as you know, if you read my blog even  once in a while, I’m crazy about this city and everything it offers.  For many years, I’ve wanted to live here and always knew it would be a great place to retire.  This article just adds to why. (even though as Spiegelman says..”If one can afford it (a big if).”  True, but there are so many freebies almost everyday and experiences  that only cost the wear and tear on one’s feet (and knees), that simply enriches one’s life, I believe, at least for me.

As autumn arrives and baseball fans  battle, you might want to read Spiegelman’s column in-between cheering for your favorite team.   As I said, at the beginning, sometimes…something… just hits home!

“Chance encounters brighten the day. They’re like little love affairs without consequences. They keep you alert. This is what any senior citizen needs. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, when a man is tired of Manhattan, he is tired of life.”

Love this City and Spiegelman for writing the column…bases loaded, out of the park, home run!

KAY’S NOTES: 

Important to know and good to know:

This  good news op-ed was written by Willard Spiegelman who has a new book, “Senior Moments: Looking back, Looking ahead”, the column, and the above quotes are excerpts from that book. He currently lives in Dallas, but according to his column moving to NYC full-time next year.

(Spiegelman’s column site below – apologies – unable to make it smaller font – no matter what I did without losing the link)

 Condensed reviews and comments on Professor Spiegelman and “Senior Moments”.
 Dr. Willard Spiegelman is  a Distinguished Professor of English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  He is a regular contributor to the “Leisure & Arts” page of The Wall Street Journal, and since 1984 he has been the editor-in chief of The Southwest Review, the country’s fourth-oldest, continuously published literary quarterly. (SMU)
 On the book:
“Drawing on more than six decades’ worth of lessons from his storied career as a writer and professor, Willard Spiegelman reflects with candid humor and sophistication on growing old.” Senior Moments” is a series of discrete essays that, when taken together, constitute the life of a man who, despite Western cultural notions of aging as something to be denied, overcome, and resisted, has continued to relish the simplest of pleasures: reading, looking at art, talking, and indulging in occasional fits of nostalgia while also welcoming what inevitably lies ahead.” (Amazon)
Samuel Johnson:
Spiegelman’s paraphrase from Samuel Johnson:  The original quote from Samuel Johnson in 1777  “…. when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life…” The ever witty Samuel Johnson was an essayist, biographer and cultural critic who was a prominent figure in 18th century England (Biography.com)Related image
Babe Ruth Photo – courtesy of Wikipedia
Disclaimer: I try for correct information on my posts, but no guarantees people.

Bars, books, french fries and such!

Or….Places I like and why!

On occasion, I like to go to a nearby establishment in the late afternoon for a light libation, a little bar conversation, and, perhaps,  with a book or crossword puzzle.

A friendly comfortable place that likes us “older folks”, walking distance from my apartment  and not crazy expensive and serves a good wine, or bourbon old fashioned and french fries.   You would think that would be easy to find in this  City, and it is, but it does take a little time  and effort.

I know, you get the walking, likes seniors, reasonable, but what’s with the french fries?   A tradition, I’m big on traditions.  This all started with my younger trouble-making sisters.  One of them said,  “Let’s stop for a drink.”  Found ourselves a place and sat down at the bar.   We just wanted a little something to pick on. Looked over the appetizers, but nothing.  Looked at the rest of the menu ,and there it was… French Fries.   Those luscious fattening little  things have  become the  go-to bar snack for me and most of my family and friends.

What’s a girl to do?

One afternoon I was walking back from my local small bookstore with my new book in hand.   It wasn’t really what I wanted to do, but I did it anyway, spend the money that is.  I love browsing  independent book stores like Shakespeare & Co.  on Lexington Ave.  I could have borrowed it from the library, but I have a thing about having my own copy.     Although, I do borrow on occasion.  Coulda, woulda, shoulda, so I bought it.   Senior moment…can’t remember the name of the book.

It had just started to rain, when I stopped that day at Donohue’s, also on Lexington (opened in 1950),   Imagedown the street from my apt.  I sat at the bar and ordered an old fashioned and, of course, fries. A couple came in and sat next to me.  I smiled and then went back to cursing Will Shortz. (you know, the editor of the NY Times crossword) as I worked on that day’s puzzle.  “Excuse me,” I heard and turned to look at the two next to me.  She asked, “Do you know the best way to get to  the Metropolitan Opera?”  It was so hard not to say, “Practice, practice,practice.” But, no, I didn’t.  Their question  started a conversation about The Met opera and The Met museum.  Then some goodbyes and off they went to Lincoln Center and “Aida”. There you have it… a nice place, good drink, bar conversation, fries  and home. That’s what I’m talking about!

Finnegan's Wake - New York, NY, United States

And over on First  Avenue, a  dear friend introduced me t0 Finnegans Wake Pub, it’s  been there since 1972.  Besides the ubiquitous french fries, they make a delicious chicken pot pie. Chicken pot pie seems to be standard pub fare, some are ok, but theirs is really, really yummy.   The conversations between my friend and I  and the tables around us or at the bar are always fun at this cozy neighborhood place. Drinks are good and the price is right!

 “Wait for it”

Then on  Second and 70th  is Beach  Cafe.  (since 1968) a little bar/restaurant, where you can get a great bourbon old fashioned. It has really been through tough times for a while now  with the noise and scaffolding and walls up for the Second Avenue subway.  But another comfortable easy place to stop with friendly folk from the area.  Just ignore the Photo Dec 23, 4 08 39 PM.jpgconstruction around.    “Hamilton” was the bar conversation one afternoon, when I heard the woman next to me say to the fellow next to her,  incredulously “You’ve seen Hamilton how many times?”  He laughed and said, “Six.”   “How did you manage that?”, she asked. Now all our eyes were  focused on this lucky guy. He gave an answer that wasn’t a surprise.”I have a friend who has a friend who knows somebody.”  We laughed.  I had to go, but I heard this comment as I left, smiling. “I didn’t think you had any friends.”

“If you’re gonna dance, you gotta  pay the band”  

 One of my favorite places, in the City,  is the classic  New York bar, Bemelmens  at the Carlyle Hotel (1947) on Madison Avenue, little further away from the others, but worth the walk.   I love  the atmosphere and the wonderful bonus of listening to the  jazz pianist playing those great  standards. There was a wonderful bartender there, that retired a few years ago, he made, according to a friend,  the best Cosmopolitan ever!   Drinks are still great and  their little trio of bar snacks, which they keep refilling, will make one forget about french fries.   Just  be ready for the “ouch factor” when  it’s time to pay the bill.  It’s become, for me, a special occasion place.  As an aside, it is one of the best places for eavesdropping… and  do I have stories to tell?   Woo Hoo!  ‘nother post,’nother time.Bemelmans Bar | The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

“In my own little corner” 

 Just so you know, I’m not promoting any of these places. I’ve had  interesting times at each and wanted to tell you about them, because as vast as NYC  is,  it is filled with  neighborhoods and communities and these places happen to be in mine.  However, my most favorite place is in my own apartment, in my comfortable chair, my feet up,  with  a good book, some jazz playing in the background,  and a nice glass of something. French fries can wait.

 Enjoy!

 Love this City.

Senior moment  recovery :  The book was  the last of the Ferrante Neopolitan Novels, The Story of the Lost Child. Now I remember why I  couldn’t borrow  it from the library, I have the other three, can’t break up a set.

KAY’S NOTES

Important to know:  The locations of the places in this post are  all on the Upper East Side and within a few blocks of each other with the one exception of Bemelmans which is a little further away – but not that far.

Donohue’s, Lexington Avenue between 64th and 65th

Shakespeare & Co, Lexington between 68th and 69th

The Beach Cafe, Second Ave and 70th

Finnegans Wake Pub, First Ave and 72nd (no apostrophe-according to their site)

Bemelmans Bar, Madison Ave and 76th (no apostrophe here, either)

Photos: Courtesy of their websites

Disclaimer: I try for correct info on my posts, but no guarantees people. 


Eavesdropping…an art form

I leaned over to my friend and said, “If I hadn’t gone to see the Picasso sculptures at MOMA  and didn’t stop for a glass of wine at the Bar Room   and didn’t sit beside Paula and didn’t eavesdrop, we wouldn’t be here tonight!”

We were sitting back in our chairs, sipping a glass of chardonnay, waiting to hear Paula Whyman read from her first published book, “You May See A Stranger” at Book Culture  on the  upper west side.  You remember Paula from my very first post,  Picasso and Paula ?

blog book culture
Paula ready to read from her new book, “You May See A Stranger.”

I feel so connected with this book, I keep thinking I was there at the beginning.   Well, not the real beginning, Paula said during her interview that it took her five years to write the book and I only met her in April.   But I was there for the finish, I’ll take credit for that.  And the award for  “Best Eavesdropping Finish Line” goes to….. Kay of kaysnycways! Applause, applause!  And, where does Paula get some of her ideas.. …wait for it….  “Eavesdropping”  she told the interviewer.

 

I know a couple who  took eavesdropping  to a whole other level by developing the art form into a game of mischief.  Their  targeted audience were strangers sitting near them in a crowded restaurant. They would start in low tones and then perhaps display a bit of anger or a little laugh, a naughty word, here or there, purposely allowing  their eavesdroppers to catch something, look at each other  and stop talking.  The strangers would then discreetly listen to this couple tell their mostly lurid  fictional tales. And these  gamers had no shame – they began at cocktails and didn’t finish till dessert.  They’d get up and leave and as soon as they were outside become  hysterical  and  congratulate themselves on what they considered  spectacular acting, knowing full well  that the tables surrounding them were left wondering …”Did we really hear what I think we heard?”

I heard Paula use a word  at her reading  that I didn’t  remember, “plotting”. It came about when someone asked the author what advice would she give to young writers, she answered, “Read.”   One of her main reasons, she said, was  that reading helps in plot development, “plotting”.     Now I was an English major and should have recognized the word, but please keep in mind, senior moments are always popping up at the most inopportune  times.   I wrote the word  down in my blog notebook, so I wouldn’t have another senior moment trying to remember what word I didn’t remember.

blog you may see a stranger

Now in summary and to  paraphrase my Picasso and Paula post, “always stop for a glass of something and  always eavesdrop” cause you never know where the art of eavesdropping  will take you and it  may surprise you when you get there.

Enjoy!

KAY’S NOTES

Important to know:        Paula’s site : http://www.paulawhyman.com  Book Culture http://www.bookculture.com a small chain of independent book stores on the upper west side

Good to know: Museum of National History is across the street and Central Park a block away.

Where to eat:  Lots – including Shake Shack down a few blocks and Isabella’s  at 77th and Columbus on the corner.   http://www.isabellas.com where we ate.  You can eat inside or out, we shared our meal, and with tip  and rose’ came  to about $45 each.  Nice casual restaurant.

Kid Friendly:   Very – both at the bookstore and restaurants

Restrooms: Yes

*Disclaimer – I try for correct info on Kay’s Notes– but no guarantees people.