Saturday, March 21, 2009

NYC09: New York Library

I'm going to be honest with you. I thought I knew what libraries were. I thought they were buildings with books in them. Places where you could read books, borrow them, you know – do things that most people tend to associate with libraries.

Now, I've recently discovered some of Toronto's libraries. They were slightly unlike what I'd expected. They had rare books on show, and all sorts of special displays and reading rooms. Still, for the most part the Toronto libraries were as I'd expected them to be.

Now, the New York Library? The one with all those lions out front? That is sch a different thing. Step inside. Do it. I dare you to. One step inside the library and you will be – well, you'll be subjected to a bag search – but after that, you'll see a large open hall that leads to a number of staircases.

Pick one, it's your call. Up you go, and you'll be in another hall. That hall will lead to other halls, or more stairs. Go up some more. This continues for some time. While you're wandering around lost – do be sure to take notice of the lovely photographs on display. Or the large collection of paintings in some of the empty offshoot rooms.

These offshoot rooms are what you're looking for as a tourist. Through here, you will find fully painted ceilings with ornate chandeliers illuminating from above. Through these doors you will find row after row of desk with people reading, researching, studying, and browsing the interwebs on their laptops.

Some of them might look a bit perplexed when you start taking photographs, but provided yo have your flash turned off, there's no problem at all.

This is no mere library – it is a labyrinth of education, and masterful artistry. Are there collections of books here to be checked out? I'm not sure. I couldn't quite say – but that's not the reason you're there anyway, is it? And as for the people studying... Well I'm sure they know what they're doing, even if you don't.

So – how big is this library? Well, I'll tell you this: Two girls were cell phoning each other trying to meet up, failing time after time after time. Any library big enough to require cellular communications just to find someone – well that's worth seeing, isn't it?

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