Literary Tourist in New York
We decided to park the car at the hotel, stay overnight in Poughkeepsie N.Y., and take the one hour train ride into Manhattan the next morning; not however, before visiting the Bocuse Restaurant at the American Culinary Institute that evening. It’s recognized as ‘the world’s premier culinary college’, and is beautifully situated in what was once the St. Andrew-on-Hudson Jesuit novitiate in nearby Hyde Park. Though nothing about our meal really stood out, the food was uniformly good, the price was reasonable and the setting, as I say, was very impressive. Well worth a look at the $45 fixed menu.
Next morning the train took a bit of a milk route; it wasn’t full, so we gathered deep breaths, stretched out, and enjoyed the Hudson Valley scenery. The train went right to Grand Central station. This
reminded me a bit of the famed Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station in London, although here you don’t have to run into a wall to catch the right train.
First stop on the big apple literary itinerary was the New York Public Library at 42nd St and Fifth Avenue.
It’s pretty well impossible to tell Patience
from Fortitude. These are the names Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia gave the library lions back in the 1930s. They were the qualities he felt New Yorkers needed in order to survive the Great Depression.
Inside I was greeted by this punchy quote
perfect slogan for the book podcast I host called The Biblio File.
One of the things I love about the bookstore at the NYPL is that it sells ex-library and donated books, cheap.
If that’s not your thing, there are plenty of other fun, bookish accessories to go round. For example, you might want to adopt this Justin Trudeau ‘library look’
Down the hall there’s always something interesting going on in the special exhibition space. Today it was a sixties revolution exhibit
filled with powerful images of protest and complaint (Napalm was manufactured in the U.S. by the Dupont Chemical Company – 388,000 tons of the disgusting stuff was dropped on Vietnam between 1963 -1973). In 1964 millions of middle-class young white kids started rejecting their parents’ infatuation with money and status. They created what would be called the Counterculture, and became ‘flower children’ looking for “meaning in Eastern spirituality, communal living, and free love”. Struggling against the system, they believed, would bring on a ‘New Age’ of peace and love.
This is the main – Stephen A. Schwarzman Building – branch of the NYPL
(Schwarzman is an etched in stone billionaire friend of Donald Trump’s, but let’s not hold that against him), here you’ll also find a Rare Books room, the Berg Collection of English and American Literature, and a Children’s Center, home to the original stuffed bear Winnie-the-Pooh and his four closest friends: Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, and Tigger; plus, LIVE from the NYPL a regular conversation session with ‘notable writers, artists, and leaders’, hosted by Paul Holdengräber.
On a nice day it’s worth venturing around to the back of the building. It opens up onto a lovely square, called Bryant Park. Here you’ll find a large patio where you can read your new/ex book acquisitions and enjoy a refreshing squeezed orange juice, or something.
To be continued.