May it be spent in pursuit of magic.
Monday after I visited the New York Public Library, I walked along the High Line. It’s an old freight train line that was converted into a walking path in 2004. I was surprised by how much the bustle and noise of the city faded away only a little above the streets. It was busy up there, and it was quite narrow in places so it was pretty crowded, but it was still a quieter world.
There were plenty of places to sit, and several spots where the path branched off in an outlook over the avenues. Near 14th Street, there were a bunch of food carts set up overlooking the Hudson River, and benches set up like deck chairs where people were sunning themselves in the late afternoon light.
I saw lots of different artworks up there, and a guy making counter-cultural miniature paintings on cardboard, and a kid who tried to pet each blade of grass he came across. It was a lovely mile-long walk on a beautiful September day.
The 5th Avenue branch of the New York Public Library is famous enough to make it on some tourist itineraries, including mine. When I stopped by yesterday, I went to the “cameras allowed” section of the reading room and tried to stay out of people’s photos in the rotunda on the third floor, and I watched in amusement as actual New Yorkers tried to actually use their library amid all this.
Apparently the library still uses pneumatic tubes to shuttle call slips around when people are searching for books in the vast catalog, which I find delightful. They have one of the 48 surviving copies of the original Gutenberg Bible, which showed still-vibrant black ink, a few lovely illuminated letters, and what looked like notes scribbled in the margins.
It was an impressive building, and a fine place to pass an hour.