Journey through Time
with the Picture CollectionEnter the doors of the Schwarzman Building from Fifth Avenue this week and you will find yourself, as usual at this time of year, in a jolly space with a giant Christmas tree adorned with all the trimmings of the season. But that's not the only marvel to behold.
A few weeks ago I happened to be wandering through the halls when the holiday decorations were being installed, and the festive spirit of the place, with its red ribbon and wreaths and pine and reflective gold and silver ornament reminded me of Christmas at Hogwarts. Yes, although I’m approaching the age of Professor Dumbledore, I consider myself a Harry Potter fan, and am a sucker for institutions of learning with grand architecture and great entrance halls, which is possibly why I find myself a librarian at The New York Public Library.
My favorite place in Astor Hall this week is behind the tree, where a magic little case has the power to transport you back in time – oh, a century or so – and all you have to do is to gaze upon a carefully chosen selection of New Year's postcards from the Picture Collection. Although you might make out a few sparkles of fairy dust above the display case just by examining the image at left, you really have to visit to experience the enchantment. And to speed you on your journey both to Schwarzman and through the New Year, I've found a railway train (pictured above) which might bear a resemblance to the Hogwarts Express.
For armchair travelers, try this little tour guide through our holiday postcards.