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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hello from the New York Public Library

Where lions lie.
Took bus into city today. From the moment I sat down on the DeCamp #66 from Montclair to New York, I felt excited. Realized I also felt taken care of--someone was driving me in, so I could just daydream and rest.

Changing It Up
Met three people from Jiffy Lube for lunch. They were in town from Houston, Boston and Clearfield, Utah. Joye [from Utah] runs 54 Jiffy L. franchises in Colorado, Utah and Nevada with her husband and three grown sons. I first got in touch with Jiffy L. for my Good Housekeeping article earlier this year about how to cut your car costs. I like meeting my PR contacts from out of town when they come to New York for deskside visits with editors. It helps both of us--sparks story ideas for me and puts more muscle and facts behind my pitches. Also, since I write for national magazines and websites, I like to keep in touch with how people live in other parts of the country.

So go ahead. I dare you. Ask me something about oil changes. I don't know only about rich truffles and pink sweaters! [Though I confess, I will have to look some answers up.]

Writing Where Literary Lions Lie
Then I wandered over to the majestic New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue between 41st and 42nd streets. It's celebrating 100 years. I sat outside on one of the chairs by the steps, watching tourist after tourist pose and smile into the eye of an iPhone camera held by their lover, mother, husband or friend. Lots of foreigners....chic Russians, French women, Londoners, Japanese. Well-dressed. Trench coats, ski hats, sleek black men's shoes, cool eyeglasses. All smiles. So cute.

I've decided that the best antidote to leaving-Cape-Cod letdown is a couple of hours in NYC. When you sit and watch the waves of people, it's like watching the waves in the sea. You can feel like a small but important part of the whole--like a vital cog in a  magical, masterful wheel.

The guard directed me to the third floor, room 315, for free internet. Since I don't live in New York, I had to show my photo I.D. to get a 15- or 45-minute session on the HP computer. There are dozens and dozens of them lined up at the old polished wood tables here. It is a beautiful room. The ceiling features intricate wood carvings that border paintings of clouds and sky. So lovely. The chandeliers are swanky, elegant, impressive. The lamps on the tables are old-fashioned reminders that sit watchfully alongside fast-working PCs.

Yet it's not all roses; there's a bad smell right near me--like someone is in town and has not had the space or time to take a shower. I understand that.

Other Voices, Other Rooms
Most of all, I'm remembering my Mom and her friend Alice [McDonald] Wester, Fordham classmates who worked here at the library as young women. I know these ceilings are the same. The chandeliers are the same. The feeling of awe must be the same that Mom and Alice had. To be young and smart and lucky enough to work somewhere like this...drinking in New York glamour, style, intelligence. Even if it was behind the scenes, behind the stacks.

Well, I'd better scoot back to the Port Authority and catch my bus home, before my PC session expires and I turn into a pumpkin. But I would love to explore this playground more....I could conjure up secrets, facts and insights about my mother just by sitting here and breathing, I bet.

Hope you're having a good day.

  1. Boot camp in the park.
  2. Iced water with lunch.
  3. Better not mention Cappuccino Cupcake.
  4. Walked Sug around block once.
  5. Garbage day tomorrow. I just threw out three apple cider donuts. They are not needed here. 
  6. I think, after today, that I want to take bus into NYC and work in NY Public Library at least one day a week. It will cost me almost $15 round trip on the bus, but I can bring my laptop and settle in to write in a very inspiring place. I think it may work just right for me.


  1. Nice to be in the city after the ocean. There is truly nothing like what will always be "the city" to me. Such energy.

  2. Nan, do you get to NYC with your boys and girl? I can tell you love it.

  3. Nice entry, Alice! That is so cool to be able to walk into the place where your mom worked.

  4. Thank you, Eileen. I think of my Mom whenever I pass the library. :)