Friday, August 7, 2015

Bryant Park Reading Room

It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how well I think I know an area of Manhattan there always seems to be something new to discover - or at least new-to-me. I've been to Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan many times over the years, but it seems not during the summer months otherwise I surely would have already known about the Reading Room. 
From April to October a section at the north-east side of the park becomes a mini outdoor library with a tented space for workshops and talks and a more informal sitting area for reading. Every day, except Sunday, there is a lunchtime or evening session aimed at readers or writers, plus special programs for children. Most of the events take place between June and August so sadly I've missed most of this season's offerings.    
The original idea for the Reading Room was born in 1935 as a place for those out-of-work to have access to reading materials at no cost and without the need for identification or library cards, but by 1944 the economy had improved to the point where it was no longer deemed necessary. 
Bryant Park underwent extensive renovations in the early 1990's turning the park from what had become a no-go area into a popular spot for locals and visitors alike and in 2003 it was decided to re-open the Reading Room.

the classics

Now mobile carts offer readers a range of classic and contemporary books as well as newspapers and magazines, all donated by the publishers. 
contemporary novels
 And there's even a children's section too. 

What a wonderful way to encourage reading for all ages. A great place to while away a sunny hour or two. I can't believe it has taken me this long to discover it. And it makes me wonder whether other cities have a similar set-up. Are there any outdoor libraries in your city?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Hedwig and the Angry Inch - A Review

I love movies, but have always felt there’s something extra special about going to the theater. I’m in awe of people who can get up on stage and transport an audience to another place and/or time for two or three hours with no option of retakes, editing or action-packed scenes to distract the audience from humdrum performances.  On stage, being good-looking is not enough, there has to be talent too, whether in acting, singing or dancing or, in the case of plays like Hedwig and the Angry Inch, all three.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Walking in the City - Gramercy Park, New York

 For my first walk in the city since returning from my Amtrak Adventure, I decided it was time to pay some attention to the streets of Manhattan rather than the Avenues. With that in mind, I decided I would walk from 1st Avenue to 10th Avenue along 23rd Street, come back along 22nd Street to 1st and then continue in this zig-zag pattern until I reached 17th Street and Union Square.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Amtrak Adventure - Day 36 - Return to New York

A day of mixed emotions. While I looked forward to seeing family and friends again after five weeks away, it saddened me to think the trip was almost over. I could quite happily have kept on traveling!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Amtrak Adventure - Day 35 - Final Day in Chicago

Day 35 - the final full day of our trip. Maybe it was the idea of the adventure almost being over which took a little of the steam out of our sightseeing enthusiasm, or maybe it was the weather: hot, humid and very sticky with the constant threat (occasionally fulfilled, particularly when we stepped outside), of rain or storms. There was still so much we could see and do and now so little time to do it.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Amtrak Adventure - Day 34 - The Beach and the Blues in Chicago

Our second day in Chicago dawned bright and sunny, a perfect morning to hit the beach. Surprisingly, Chicago offers several beaches all within walking distance of the downtown area making it easy to spend time in the sun without sacrificing a whole day of sightseeing. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Amtrak Adventure - Day 33 - Chicago and Architecture Galore

I'd only been to Chicago once before and that was over fifteen years ago, but what stuck in my mind was the amazing architecture, especially the Wrigley Building and the Chicago Tribune.