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Blog Posts by Subject: Urban Affairs

March Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

A new approach to health care reform ... 20 years of Harlem Street Portraits ... humanist architecture ... The Extreme Life of the Sea ... New York City's unbuilt subways ... mothers ... the power of storytelling ... a century of candy ... New York's lost amusement parks ... the public library ... 11 missing men of WWII ... great city planning.Read More ›

Meet the Speakers at our Fulton Fish Market Talk!

This Wednesday, February 26 from 6-7:45 p.m. at Jefferson Market Library, come to an evening of memory, protest and plans. Here's some information about the upcoming speakers.Read More ›

November Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

Is Detroit City really the place to be? What happens in a typical day at a busy NYC hospital? How does a traveler lose himself all over the globe? Is it possible for the government to achieve full employment in 

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The Jews of Shanghai: Uncovering the Archives and Stories

"Life was difficult in Shanghai, but infinitely better than anything they had left behind. From lower-middle-class comfort, the Tobias family was reduced to poverty but not to starvation. There was always food, always something to eat, always shelter even when the Jewish community was ghettoized shortly after Pearl Harbor. Thus even under terribly difficult conditions Moses Tobias was able to take care of his family but under the Nazis the conditions of the Jews were far worse than merely 'terribly difficult.'

"Shanghai was a multiethnic city and the 

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Happy Birthday Grand Central Terminal!

Did you know that Grand Central Station (also known as Grand Central Terminal) recently turned 100?

Opened in 1871 on 42nd Street between Park and Lexington avenues, the station was renovated and reopened in February 1913. Grand Central is one of the largest train connecters to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) 4, 5, 6,

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Short-Term Research Fellows: A Closer Look at Brooklyn History

As a graduate student whose dissertation examines the development of Brooklyn in the nineteenth century, I have spent more hours than I care to count the past several years poring through documents in the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Brooklyn Public Library and other repositories in what was formerly the nation's third-largest city and is now New York City's most populous borough. Recently however, through the New York Public Library's Short-Term Research Fellowship Program and 

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Beyond 311: How to Direct Complaints to NYC, State or Federal Agencies

Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Heat and Hot Water, Eviction, Foreclosure Complaints with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTA) Consumer Fraud and "Rip Offs" Discrimination based on Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Heat and Hot Water, Eviction, Foreclosure

Landlord-tenant disputes are a fact that a large percentage of New York City residents must confront at one time or another if they live in this 

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The New York City Historical GIS Project

In 2010, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded The New York Public Library's Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division a three-year grant for its New York City Historical Geographic Information Systems project, which builds digital cartographic resources from NYPL's historical paper map and atlas 

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Extra! Extra! Read All About the Newsboys Strike of 1899

This year the musical Newsies got nominated for eight Tony Awards. The popularity of the Disney Broadway show based on the Disney film has led many of our younger patrons to ask about the newsboys and the strike they led in 1899 on which the film and play  are based.

If you are interested in learning more about the strike 

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Jane Jacobs and the Hudson Street Ballet

I read Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities years before I moved to New York, back when I wrote for community newspapers in my home state of Delaware. Jacobs wrote sensibly, without pretense. She observed things closely, and drew logical conclusions. She obviously cared about her subject 

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A Learning Celebration! Food for Body and Soul at the Centers for Reading and Writing

Tutors receive certificates for hours of service.“Spring Learning Celebration Tonight!” reads a handmade sign in the Tompkins Square Library’s Center for Reading and Writing. Paper flowers decorate the folding tables, and green and yellow streamers festoon windows and bookshelves. The first student arrives two hours early, toting two huge aluminum trays of macaroni salad. “Can I leave this here for the celebration?” she says, depositing the heavy trays on a table.

Twice a year, each of the eight

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Resources for Affordable Housing in NYC

This post offers information about affordable, subsidized and supportive housing programs in New York City.

The various federal, state and local rules and departments governing non-market housing in New York City can be a difficult maze to navigate: there are some support and advocacy organizations at the bottom of the page that may be able to help you chart your path through the NYC housing universe. Remember you can also visit the information desk at your local library branch for help looking for housing information or 

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The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, which took place 100 years ago today, was a tragic incident in New York City's history but also a turning point in the early labor movement.

One hundred and forty-six workers died, mostly young women from immigrant families. The fire was deadly because of the height of the building, the amount of fabric and flammable material inside, the lack of proper fire escapes, and exits that were locked to prevent workers from taking breaks. Many fell or jumped to their deaths. The tragedy brought greater awareness to sweatshop conditions, which led to 

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Life After English Class: Yoko's Story

Yoko and Jacqueline reading at a Learning CelebrationYoko, a former student from Japan, stopped by the Tompkins Square Library's Center for Reading and Writing to say hello.  I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions.    

How did you find the Center for Reading and Writing?

It was in 2003, November maybe.  I actually visited other libraries and I was looking for a conversation class.  I think I 

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Public Assistance Resources in NYC

Are you confused about the numerous benefit and assistance programs offered by New York state and city government and whether you qualify? There is a lot of information to digest out there and it's constantly changing. Both Access NYC and My Benefits are two helpful sites that allow you to screen for your eligibility for public assistance. You can do so anonymously or by creating an account. You will be asked to enter some basic information about yourself and your family to 

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A Helping Hand from Food Stamps

The United States Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known more commonly as the Food Stamp Program, provides support to low-income New Yorkers including working families, qualified immigrants, the elderly and the disabled to increase their ability to purchase food. A household must qualify under eligibility rules set by the federal government to enroll in this program.  To determine your eligiblity for this or other goverment assistance programs, click

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More Radical Women in the Wertheim Study

Food is a Feminist IssueTuesday is the second of the Wertheim Study scholars' lecture series: Singular and Collective: Radical Women Artists [in NYC during the 1970s].  This one, by Dr. Aseel Sawalha, is the collective part.  She's going to examine the scene from the perspective of anthropology, focusing on two women's arts collectives: The

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Students at Seward Park Adult Literacy Program Discuss Three Faiths Exhibit

Last week, a group of adult students and volunteer tutors at the Seward Park Library's Center for Reading and Writing, the library's free adult literacy program, gathered for an introduction to the Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam exhibit at Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, and to gauge interest in a field trip. 

"Who has been to the 42nd Street Library—the 

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The Shared World: Storylines Project Celebrates Writing of Adult Literacy Students and Author Naomi Shihab Nye

Right to left: Naomi Shihab Nye, Neela Vaswani and Storylines Honorable Mention. Photo courtesy NCV FoundationOn October 26, 2010, adult literacy students and their volunteer tutors from the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island gathered at the Bronx Library Center for the second annual Storylines Project celebration. The Storylines Project brings together adult literacy students from the New York Public Library's Centers for Reading and 

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Library as Community: A Physical Vision of the Branch Library

What is the role of a library when it no longer needs to be a warehouse of books and when users can obtain information without setting foot in its doors? (p. vii)” There are potentially two ways to look at the previous question: one as a doomsayer and the other more optimistic in nature. The doomsayer would note that doing a search on Google for the phrase ‘demise of 

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