New York Public Library

Yesterday, I spent the day outside the no-AC apartment, mostly working on freelance assignments. I visited two libraries: the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and the Humanities and Social Services Library of the NYPL (that’s the one at 5th and 42nd, with the two lions in front that everyone thinks is the main branch–it’s not).

I noticed on an earlier visit that the NYPL’s big reading room had electrical outlets built into the tables, meaning I could plug in my laptop. The Brooklyn library had no place where I could plug in and unfortunately, my battery was hosed, so I took the train to the city and worked there.

But that’s not very interesting. After exiting the train at Grand Central Terminal, I walked the few blocks to the NYPL, stopping en route to pick up a carryout lunch. I ate on the terrace in front of the library. While I sat there, an old man sat down a few feet away and began feeding the pigeons. He filled his cupped hand with seed and held out his arm at chest level. One brave and curious bird flew up, landed on his arm, and ate from his hand. Then, several birds. Before long, pigeons were hovering about this man, waiting for a turn at the trough.

The old man clearly took great pleasure in this, but when another man began talking to him about birds and pigeons, the expression on the old man’s face became pained and pinched. He made no reply and shuffled off awkwardly, birds trailing after him.


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