For my first post, I decided to go to the library to read Vilem Flusser's Philosophy of Photography. Here is the wikipedia page for Flusser.
This is the main branch of the New York Public Library, on Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets in Manhattan. Construction began in 1902, and it opened on May 23, 1911. Previously, it had been the site of the Croton Reservoir, which supplied the city with drinking water in the 19th century. It was in Ghostbusters. This photo seems hectic because most of these people are on lunch break.
Right off the bat, it is amazing inside the library.
Many of the great names of New York City contributed to the construction of the library. "The City of New York has erected this Building to be maintained forever as a free Library for the use of the People."
Upstairs is the McGraw Rotunda, which leads to room 315, the main reading room.
Above the door to the reading room is a quote from a very influential 1644 essay against censorship by John Milton entitled Areopagitica: A speech of Mr. John Milton for the liberty of unlicensed printing to the Parliament of England. Elsewhere in the essay, he talks about how destroying a book is like stabbing God in the eye. The spirit of the author is 'imbalm'd' in the book for all time (life beyond life), and to censor the book is tantamount to murdering the author, he argues. Thankfully, his view prevailed and almost 450 years later I can say whatever I want.
Off of the main reading room is the Art & Architecture reading room, where my book was located. It is serene and peaceful. The seats are all numbered. You fill out a slip, write your seat number and hand it to the librarian. A few minutes later someone will bring you the book. It is very efficient and somewhat flabbergasting that it is even possible. This is a reference library, most of the books here are for use in the library only - you can't check them out. Many rare and obscure editions are housed here. Smart-looking people are photocopying things. The book I am reading discusses how photographs come from cameras, and cameras come from books about how to make cameras, which come from pre-historical images. I photographed the first essay, entitled The Image, and it is reproduced here.
The quarter was to keep the book from closing on me, because it wanted to, because the book had been closed for a long time previously.
Love the footwear on these guys. Lunch in Bryant Park. It was one of the first moderately warm days this year, even though it was a bit cold, so people were out in force for lunch break.
Until next time,