Friday, August 13, 2010

In the Big Apple: A blusterly day... and Pooh!

Yesterday I set out with two destinations in mind, and went to neither.... but I had a whole set of adventures I hadn't anticipated. First thing to know is that there have been changes to the the subways as well as the busses in NYC recently.... hence how I found myself on a M train, when I was supposed to be on an E train... and ended up at Bryant Park. This is me outside the adjacent librry, in front of one of the lions (this one is called Patience, the other is called Fortitude), taken by a kind New Yorker gentleman.
But let's start with the park.... Bryant Park is a huge park right in the middle of Manhattan on 42nd Street. If you visited NYC before 1992 it was apparently a pretty sad place... but for the past 8 years it has been revelling in it's new life. And it's awesome! I was sitting in a rocking andorak chair, with my feet up on a wicker stool, when I took this picture.
The park is full of interesting seating and there are no rules about needing to buy anything to use the best seating by the food spots. So, it's a great, cheap (free) place to bring a book, find a spot in the shade, and just chill.
The good news is that the heat wave has finally broken in the city... the bad news is that it has brought some rain... and I had to give up my doodle spot and head for cover. I ended up at the Southwest Porch, a very relaxed bar that is indeed sponsored by the airline. The area adjacent to the bar even has power outlets for those laptoppers running low.
Another view of the bar, only one of half a dozen spots where you can get fueled up in the park, if you so choose.
This is the lawn at the centre of the park and it's where they show free movies in the summer, as well as music and Broadway show snippets. All around the park there are other things going on, all of which are outlined online or in the readily-available booklets onsite. You can learn to knit, take part in tai-chi or yoga, play ping-pong or penanque (like bocce ball), watch the chess guys, listen to poets, discuss books -- plus a bunch of options for kids. All free. They've done a remarkably good job.
Once the rain had cleared, and long after I'd abandoned my earlier plans, I decided to visit the 42nd Street branch of the New York Public Library, which is on the same property. As fascinating as I knew the architecture would be, my real motivation was a chance to visit the REAL Winnie The Pooh!! Here he is with all of his friends:
The Winnie the Pooh Treasures are the actual stuffed animals that Christopher Robin Milne was given as a child and gaverise to the ideas that his father, A. A. Milne, would eventually make into the famed Winne the Pooh books which I, like many children, absolutely adored. Here is a closeup of the star attraction:
Getting up close with Eeyore:
... and Piglet!!
The characters have their own little room in the Childrens section, and wherever there wasn't glass, there were lovely murals. Here's just a small section:
After our little party, I moved onto take a cruise around the building before it chosed. And, of course, it was wonderful. Lots of neat big reading roojms.
And stunning architecture, frescos, paintings and furniture. Wowee. It's hard to believe you are in a public building, not a museum.
Cool staff area built between two big reading rooms below 3 huge ceiling frescos. They could serve people on both sides.
A fresco in one of the outer hallways....
There are also lots of little reading rooms dedicated to specialty collections. Kinda makes you want to curl up with a book....!
I'd love to take a tour of the building one day, as I understand that much of the collection is stored underground and, after you ask for a book, a system is engaged that goes and retrieves that book from storage. I'd love to see how that works!! If my memory serves me well, this storage is all under Bryant Park next door. I did see a new branch of the library on an adjacent corner, so I imagine that popular books may be accessible without the retrieval system. All very interesting!!
I've beeen by this area (several city blocks) on most of my past trips to NYC, but had never taken time to experience it. Now I can definitely recommend it, and expect I'll be back.


Anonymous said...

Is that the same Bryant Park where they showcase new fashion designers? it looks lovely. Tish

Roberta said...

Hmmm... not sure. Didn't see any info on that, but it wouldn't surprise me. Bryant Park is an excellent location and could easily be set up for something like that, in the summer anyways.... R

Anonymous said...

Yes its where fashion week is held! super cool! I loved Winnie and all his friends too...piglet is too cute!