A little context for this Friday's Fotos. Walking in Manhattan is often an exhilirating experience...cars, fire engines, cabs, horns, people...lots of them blaring at you. Then there are all the storefronts and other attractions vying for your attention. Like William James said of the consciousness of infants: "booming, buzzing confusion."
But, Manhattan also rewards attention to subtleties.
For instance, walking west on the south side of 41st Street, between Madison and Park Avenues, most of us look straight ahead and see the Main branch of the New York Public Library. It's perfectly framed by the buildings on either side of the street and very striking. Here's a shot from the northwest corner of 41st and 5th.
A beautiful building.
But, if you've looked at the building all the time you're walking west on 41st, you've missed a treat. All along the way between Madison and Fifth, roughly twenty bronze plaques paying tribute to the library and its contents have been encased in the sidewalk. And, if you've seen them and not stopped to read and study them, you've then missed a further treat.
Here's the first tablet in the series:
Each plaque contains a quote from a work of literature, some prose, some poems, each particularly relevant to libraries and the power of the written word. Here's one that expressed a sentiment I particularly liked.
The fifteen or so minutes Karen and I spent reading these plaques were peaceful and memorable; calm reminders of other things in the midst of the city's chaos.