Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation
Your Library Needs You!

Blog Posts by Subject: Urban Affairs

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 

... Read More ›

"Wow, That's Amazing That You Do That!" Volunteering at the Center for Reading and Writing

Tutoring at the Center for Reading and WritingThe Centers for Reading and Writing are recruiting volunteer tutors for our fall class cycle beginning in September, so I've been thinking about what it means to volunteer here in the library's adult literacy program.    

I decided to speak with Gale, who has been volunteering at the Center for Reading and Writing for over twenty years. When I 

... Read More ›

Changing the Changing City

Seeking further enlightenment into the city we call home, I recently took a class on the literary and cultural history of New York City. Among the many themes common to New York City novels we discussed was the portrayal of the city itself as a character with power to shape the lives of its citizens.

Many of us New Yorkers have felt this pressure in our own lives: we choose where to live based on our budgets, our hobbies, our family situation, and often our ethnic, linguistic or religious 

... Read More ›

Lamenting the Greater Fall: 19th Century Prison Reform and The Women's Prison Association Records

An entry from Isaac T. Hopper's logbook of released prison inmates

November 27, 1846: "William Haynes, a native of Ireland, has been in this country about two years and six months.  He was sent to Blackwells Island three months for selling pernicious books."

December 30, 1846: "John H. Gilman, 41 years old, a native of Vermont, was convicted in this city for forgery in passing counterfeit money and sentenced to Sing Sing for seven years and three months."

January 22, 1847: "Cecelia Elizabeth Doremus, a native of this City 

... Read More ›

How Green is Your Rooftop?

If the answer is not so green, perhaps you might think about coming by the Harlem Branch Library on June 1st at 5:30 pm to get some helpful tips from Kellie Madden of Harlem Lofts. 

This is the latest in our popular Home Owner seminars put on from Harlem Lofts over the past few months.  Join us for helpful tips on creating a rooftop garden and greening your rooftop to enjoy over the spring and summer. 

Limited seating, to register contact Kellie at 212-280-8866 or

... Read More ›

You are here: 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue in 1857

I am at the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. According to plate 78 of my map atlas—Williams Perris’s 1857 “Maps of the City of New York”—the massive (2) block long stone structure at the southwest corner of this Manhattan intersection is not the ... Read More ›

Between Sprawl, Slum and Hope: Urban Studies @ NYPL

The United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division estimated that by the end of 2008, for the first time in human history, the Earth's population was more than half concentrated into urban areas. 

Whether we prefer it or not, the near future certainly involves city living, apartments, mass transportation, and all the other pros and cons of high density urban life. While

... Read More ›

Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City

Robert A Caro’s tome The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York is a thick, unwieldy book at 1344 pages. It sits on my shelf with yellowed pages. I bought it shortly after I moved to New York City 30 years ago. I enjoy history and learned after I moved here that Robert Moses was an important piece of the NYC history puzzle. The book upon first reading was lost to me. I had no real understanding of New York City at that point and Robert Moses’ story 

... Read More ›

Gotham and Its Garbage

In the next coming weeks I will be hosting a series of programs on the subject of NYC sanitation. Below is a post devoted to the first program Gotham and Its Garbage: A History of Public Waste, Public Health and the Department of Sanitation. A Slide Lecture with Robin Nagle Ph.D.

No matter where you live or what your economic status is, in New York City garbage is your neighbor. You may live in a penthouse apartment and never actually touch the garbage yourself, but chances are you pass it all the time on the street. If you do live on a high floor, in a full service building, on 

... Read More ›

The Dump

Yesterday...

...and today!

OK, so this is the thing about which just about all Staten Islanders, no matter what their background or politics, have over the years been least proud. The Fresh Kills Landfill (or as we used to call it, “the dump,”) closed on March 22, 2001, certainly in part as a reward from then mayor Rudy Giuliani to Staten Island for its political support.

The dump opened up in 1948 and was supposed to be temporary. It grew to be by most accounts the largest garbage dump in the world.

I had the pleasure(?!) of 

Read More ›
Previous Page 2 of 2

Chat with a librarian now