2017 Halloween parade

'Terrorism doesn't win': New York attack  on 31 of October 2017 failed to stop Halloween parade!

Argosy -New York City's oldest independent bookstore

In Midtown Manhattan, squeezed in between  towering skyscrapers on East 59th Street there is a New York City's oldest independent bookstore.    In the age of digital reading   many bookstores have predictably closed their doors. Fortunately for booklovers Argosy Bookstore  is  open.  Founded in 1925, the Argosy Book Store is still run by the original owner’s family, the third generation.

The  founder  of the store   Louis Cohen grew up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, reading to his blind father.    He used a $500 loan from his uncle to open a bookstore on Fourth Avenue. In his autobiography, he explains how he chose the name Argosy. First, he wanted a name that started with the letter “A,” “as it might appear foremost on any list of bookstores.” That crass criterion done with, “I ran through some reference books, and selected ‘Argosy’ as my choice, as it had romance attached to it. It symbolized treasure and rarities carried by old Spanish galleons.” (....)

In Greek mythology, the Argo  was the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed   to retrieve the Golden Fleece.
 Cohen moved the store to  114 East 59th Street in the 1931.   In 1964 the store was moved    next door to its current address when the previous building was replaced with a skyscraper.

 In 1991   in obituary  New York Times wrote about  Cohen:  "Mr. Cohen's acquaintance with President Roosevelt began in 1935, when Mr. Cohen stumbled across about 30 children's books from the 1880's, signed by Sarah Delano, the President's mother. He sent the books to the President, establishing a correspondence that lasted several years. In the early 1960's, Jacqueline Kennedy asked Mr. Cohen to supply books for the White House Americana Library, and he also established libraries for the University of Texas and the University of Kansas, among others. He donated a marine research library to Israel and several thousand Hebrew books to Bar-Ilan University in Israel".

Louis and his wife, Ruth, who also worked at Argosy, passed on their love of books to their three girls. Judith , Naomi  and Adina   run Argosy since their father died in 1991.
Judith Lowry, the first born, is in charge of first editions. Naomi Hample, the middle sister, runs the autographs department. And Adina Cohen, the youngest, presides over the map and art gallery.
In October 2012 the Argosy suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Sandy, when bricks dislodged from the 32nd story of the adjacent building and crashed through the store’s roof. The resulting flood affected the top two floors and destroyed many historical artifacts, including acts of congress signed by Thomas Jefferson (...)

 Despite being on 59th Street since the 1930s, the bookstore remains a ‘hidden gem’ to many New Yorkers who will regularly walk by and miss its presence amidst the ever-growing retail buildings.  Argosy feels as much like a museum as it does a bookstore. Rare Bibles, manuscripts and first editions of books by Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Emily Dickinson and many others occupy an entire six-story townhouse. Only two floors are available to look through  the books  and prints without appointment. There is  the outdoor book stalls in front of the entrance , which features a wall of $1   bargains and a table of books whose subject matter and prices change frequently  but  you   always can  something interesting, unusual and affordable.
Three years ago New Yorker published an article " The Book Refuge Three sisters keep a family business  about the store going" and a  year ago CBS   did a story  about Argosy Bookstore.

Flag Exchange at Federal Hall

The American  flag is a strong symbol of American identity and national pride, it is  a symbol of the patriotic heart of the country.  The American flag offers a perfect mirror for all of us. For citizens and others alike, it is the shining beacon of hope and resilience of the United States.  On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation. The resolution stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation".

Historical American Flags (image from Wikipedia)
Between 1777 and 1960 Congress passed several acts that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag and allowed stars and stripes to be added to reflect the admission of each new state. There are now  13 horizontal stripes on the flag - seven red and  six white, representing thirteen Colonies. 50 stars represent the 50 states of the Union.

 There are 50 distressed American flags, hanging from the domed ceiling of New York’s Federal Hall on Wall Street. Federal Hall was built in 1842, on the site of the U.S's first capitol building under the Constitution, the exact spot where, in 1789, George Washington was inaugurated.

These flags were collected   by the  artist Mel Ziegler, Professor of Fine Arts at Vanderbilt University,  Nashville,    from each state between 2011 and 2016.   Ziegler journeyed through all 50 states and replaced distressed American flags flying at civic and private locations — city halls, post offices, hospitals, homes, and schools — with new flags.

 Ziegler came across his first flag near Nashville, Tennessee, where he lives. “It was hanging from a barn and had been there so long that the white stripes had rotted away and only the red ones remained,” he says. “I thought it was amazing, the way it looked, and then I couldn’t help myself. I just started noticing ragged flags everywhere.” (...)

Rose Main Reading Room, New York Public Library

On May 23, 1911, the main branch of the New York Public Library was officially opened in a ceremony presided over by President William Howard Taft. The library Schwarzman building  was a Beaux-Arts design and was the largest marble structure up to that time in the United States.
If the New York Public Library branches were colleges, the Schwarzman Building would be Harvard or Yale. 

  If the New York Public Library is a tree, then the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 41st Street and Fifth Avenue is its trunk.
One of New York City’s most iconic locations, the majestic Rose Main Reading Room  in Stephen A. Schwarzman Building was contemporaneously the largest of its kind in the world - it  measures 78 feet by 297 feet—roughly the length of two city blocks—with 52-foot-tall ceilings displaying murals of vibrant skies and billowing clouds.    There were  42 oak tables for 636 readers and 40,000 reference books lining its walls.

Since its opening in 1911, the Reading Room has served as a valuable resource for researchers, scholars, and writers.

 The emblematic New York novelist E.L. Doctorow conducted research at the Library for his best-known work, Ragtime, the story of three New York families from the turn of the 20th century to World War I. A far-reaching work of historical fiction, the novel interweaves the stories of actual figures of the 1900s, including Evelyn Nesbit, J.P. Morgan, and Harry Houdini.
The Library has also been cited as a resource by many other writers: Tom Wolfe, Nora Ephron, Isaac Singer, Elizabeth Bishop, E.B. White, and Jerzy Kosiński among them. Norman Mailer and John Updike have been spotted using the collections in the Rose Main Reading Room. Leon Trotskiy worked in the  Library   Reading Room.  He wrote in the book "My Life": " Bukharin was one of the first people I met in New York (..) . Although it was late, and we were very tired, Bukharin insisted on dragging us off to the Public Library the very first day".

The Room is named for Deborah, Jonathan F. P., Samuel Priest, and Adam R. Rose, children of the family that donated money to restore the room in the 1990s.
"The Roses are one of the oldest and most successful real-estate families in New York. Founded in the Bronx in the 1920’s by brothers Samuel B. and David Rose, their flagship developing company, Rose Associates, manages more than 31,000 apartments in New York, including Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, and owns some of the city’s most sought-after real estate, such as the Madison Belvedere.  The Roses have made a lot of money and given a lot away: quietly, but not entirely anonymously. These are the Roses of the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the Natural History Museum, of Rose Hall and the Rose Building and Rose Rehearsal Studio at Lincoln Center (...)
The room has been featured in several feature films, including 1984's "Ghostbusters" and  "The Day After Tomorrow"  (2004). The New York Public Library featured in "The Day After Tomorrow"  is entirely the product of Hollywood technical wizardly.   Books have never been burned in the Rose Main Reading Room!

At two in the morning on May 28, 2014, one of the ceiling’s gilded-plaster rosettes   of the Rose Room suddenly fell to the floor, 50 feet below, shattering to pieces.  No one was hurt, but it was a sign that the ceiling needed a close look. The space was immediately closed off for repairs.

  All 102 ceiling rosettes have been carefully tested, first with a gentle tap, then a firmer tug, and eventually a 300-plus–pound weight.  Every   surface has been inspected and refreshed.  The $12 million restoration included securing 900 plaster elements on the ceiling with steel cables. Over the course of more than two years,   an army of architects, structural engineers, antique restorers, mural painters, and craftsmen carefully worked on the vast space, about the size of two city blocks.
The old pneumatic tubes at the New York Public Library
Not only the Rose Reading Room was restored.    Twenty-five years ago, when the library first moved books under the Bryant Park, construction crews  built  two underground floors, but only the top one was finished.   Milstein Research Stacks, a two-level 55,600-square-foot underground storage space was added.  The stacks are climate-controlled and are kept at 65 degrees with 40 percent humidity.  The lower level, that was not in use, was finished   and brand new “book train” conveyor system, a 950-foot railroad with 24 train cars that can cover 75 feet per minute  started running in 2016.

Library officials created an innovative approach for storing material  in a new stack. Dewey order was scrapped in favor of storing books by size, a system that will increase the repository’s capacity by 40 percent.
Dewey order  (Dewey Decimal Classification System)    is named after Melvil Dewey, an American Librarian who developed it in 1876. This system is a numerical scheme for the arrangement of subjects of nonfiction books, and it classifies books by dividing them into  10 main subject groups  that are called categories. Each category is represented by figures beginning with 000 and going on to 999. 

Now books are organized into nine size categories, and staff members use book-sizing templates to determine where they will reside.  Staff members pull and place the requested material in one of the electric railroad’s twenty-four red cars that then make the five-minute trip to the circulation desks on the first and third floors of the main building.