Thursday, February 4, 2016

Walking in New York City - Jefferson Market Library

On a recent walk in Greenwich Village I spotted this beautiful building just below 10th Street on Avenue of Americas:

On closer inspection I discovered, to my delight, that it was the Jefferson Market Library.

The front entrance
Which meant that I could take a look inside. I love exploring old buildings, but often it turns out that while the exterior has been maintained the interior has been modernized and lost the original charm. Fortunately, in this case, it turns out the inside is still just as grand as the outside. The building, originally opened in 1877 as a courthouse and considered one of the ten most beautiful buildings in America at the time, has housed a library for almost fifty years. 

Stairs up to the first floor

The first floor, which used to be the police court, is now occupied by the circulation desk and the Children's Room while the second floor civil court has been replaced by the Adult Reading Room. 

Adult Reading Room

Adult Reading Room

With its stained-glass windows and soaring stone-block walls, the solemnity  provides the perfect atmosphere for concentrated study or quiet contemplation.

 An iron spiral staircase leads into a brick-arched basement.

Once the holding area for prisoners, the space at the end of the hallway is now the Reference Room. 

It's hard to believe looking at the building today that it almost didn't survive. After 1945, due to redistricting, courts were no longer held there and it was put to other uses. But by 1959 it was empty and considered such an eyesore it was scheduled for demolition. However, Village community members campaigned to save it and in 1961 it was announced it would be preserved and turned into a library.  It took another six years before restoration was completed and the library finally opened in 1967. 

All in all, it's a beautiful library, well worth taking a look at if you are in the area, but there is one slight catch for anyone wanting to work or study there - there are no public restrooms!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Walking in the City - DUMBO and Downtown Brooklyn

Up until now most of my walks in New York City have centered on Manhattan, but I'm well aware that there is plenty of interest to check out in the other city boroughs too. With that in mind, a walk organised by Shorewalkers last year, to take in the street art in DUMBO (Down under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), Downtown and Brooklyn Bridge Park, seemed a good introduction to the area. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas in New York City

I've been fortunate enough to spend Christmases past in several different countries and they've all been enjoyable experiences, but I think my favorite place for its Christmas spirit will always be New York. For me, New York City is a fabulous place at any time of year, but in December it becomes even more magical.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Walking in the City - The Christmas Lights of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY

Christmas - a time when some decorate a tree, perhaps a room or two, or add a few decorations to their yard while others... well, others go all out with quite spectacular results, especially when it's not just one or two homes, but a whole neighborhood. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Historic Houses - The Mount, Lenox, MA - Edith Wharton's Home

Impatient to view the glory of fall colors back in October, I decided to take a short road trip north into the Berkshires where nature's annual art show was at its peak. I didn't want to just drive for the sake of it though so I did a little research online to see whether I could find some other justification for the trip. In the process I came across the website for The Mount, the former home of novelist Edith Wharton. I was surprised to learn that not only did Edith Wharton write novels but she was also considered an authority on travel, architecture, gardens and interior design, and was closely involved in the design and building of The Mount. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Silent Lies - Kindle Countdown

Just a  brief post to let you know that Silent Lies is available on Kindle Countdown this week for only $0.99 in the US and £0.99 in the UK.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015