Yes, the lion is a bit of a giveaway but it’s New York Public library!I think this lion is Fortitude, but it looked quite patient this morning as I came in, allowing a hot looking pigeon to nest in the crook of its shoulder. For anyone who doesn’t know, the two lions Patience and Fortitude are so named because apparently these are the qualities one needs to write… yes I can concur with that.
So, I’m sitting here at one of the long tables towards the back of the Rose Reading Room and ever since I arrived here this morning I’ve just had this overwhelming sense of being at home. I’ve always liked libraries anyway, even the Dun Laoghaire children’s one that when I was growing up was just a prefab affair that on occasion housed an enormous Apple computer as well as a few scanty shelves of books.
But this one, with the lions and the brass lamps and the fresco sky overhead and the real cloudless sky out through the arched windows, definitely beats the prefab.
And if it wasn’t enough to have such a beautiful building with a gift shop packed full of books on writing downstairs (half of my procrastination shelf is from there) the library is right next to a pocket of green in the middle of the city called Bryant Park. On a day like today (in the 90s, thank god this reading room is air conditioned) the park is full of people writing, reading, meeting for lunch, playing free ping pong. There’s a ‘library’ area where there are free books to borrow on trolleys – I am thinking of planting a copy of ‘The Other Boy’ – and if that doesn’t tickle the grey matter enough there’s a chess area too. If you come in winter, there’s a Christmas market and of course, an ice rink.
So for anyone who likes writing or books or history or just life you have to put this on your list to visit. Just tell the lions I sent you…