Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bite the Big Apple

Photo A. Vassallo

I made a flying visit to New York City last weekend  to see “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Broadway.  My cousin wrote the book, and starred in the original Off-Broadway production and the film, and the musical been revived on Broadway with Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig. Eight Tony Award nominations!

This was also the first time I have been to NYC since a high school class trip, and I was really excited to be in the city.

By Myupperwest

Top on my to-do list was a visit to Central Park, and a tour of all of the famous spots I’ve read about in so many novels set in the city.  The weather was grand, and I walked all over  the park, seeing  everything I could fit in.   The park was busy with walkers,  joggers, bicyclists and dogs!!   There were so many well behaved dogs with city dog manners – it was really remarkable.  My own farm raised dogs are not nearly as civilized.

In preparation for the trip, I browsed through “Central Park, an American Masterpiece” by Sara Miller.  This highly illustrated book was published in 2003 to celebrate the parks 150th anniversary.
Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the park’s 843 acres have undergone a restoration and renovation in the past 20 years, led by the Central Park Conservatory.  I can attest to the success of the renovation –features such as the Sheep Meadow,  the Bethesda Terrace and the Belvedere Castle have been brought back beautifully.  The book leads the reader through the parks walkways, avenues and terraces, celebrating the space with over 200 color photographs – if you can’t visit in person, you’ll get a great sense of the special quality of one of the world’s great public parks.

An interesting approach to the special place of Central Park in New York City life can be found in  "Central Park – An Anthology" edited by Andrew Blauner.
This collection of essays by a wide variety of authors,  includes pieces written exclusively for the book, as well as a handful of classics.  Reminiscences, park myths, portraits of the park’s resident characters  and the hidden natural life of the park are some of the subjects, with the tone ranging from humorous to moving.

After roaming around Central Park for several hours, I headed over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which abuts the park on the Fifth Avenue side.  I had only a couple of hours, so made it through just a few galleries in a place that should be visited multiple times at a leisurely pace to truly enjoy it.

 The Met has been the subject of many books, of course, and some interesting titles include“Museum – Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art” by Danny Danziger; "Rogues' gallery : the secret history of the moguls and the money that made the Metropolitan Museum"   by Michael Gross; and "Making the mummies dance : inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art" by Thomas Hoving.

After my Met visit, I joined my daughter and son in law, and we strolled to Rockfeller Center, Momofuku Milkbar and the Carnegie Deli, for something of a foodies New York tour. Later that evening we went backstage at the  Belasco Theatre, attended the 10 o'clock performance of Hedwig, and the weekend was over!
Belasco Stage Door a.v.

If you are planning a trip to New York, the library offers many different travel guides and non-fiction titles on the city. With so much to see and do, I barely scraped the surface. 


Friday, May 16, 2014

Love the Ones You're With

I am very fortunate to be working in a profession I love and to be working with many colleagues that I respect both professionally and personally. When life gets rough, as it sometimes does for each of us, it makes a big difference to have people around you who offer genuine support, encouragement, and friendship; the kind of people who accept your not-so-sunshiny moods on your not-so-sunshiny days and still manage to be nice to you in spite of it. Some rough patches pass quickly and some become the  “new normal.” The people around you can make a BIG difference in how quickly and how well you get through those rough times.

I started thinking about it and realized that I often see books on how to cope with unpleasant people or situations in the world around you but not so often do I see books that offer ideas for showing your appreciation. Hate your job or your co-workers? We have a book for that. Having marital problems? We have a book for that, too. Don’t know how to deal with all the rude people in the world?  Of course we have books for that. Not happy with yourself? Yes, we even have books for that.

But what if you want to celebrate someone instead of complain about them? There is no easy way to find books like that in the catalog. I found a few in our collection and I also found some ideas online. Check these out if you want to focus on the positive and find some unique ways to let the people in your life know that you appreciate them.

Pay It Forward, the book or the website 

(This post is dedicated to the wonderful colleagues who have helped me through the ups and downs of life over the last two years.)

Tina R.