Know the Past, Find the Future: NYPL at 100
Thursday, May 19, 2011
6 to 8 p.m.
Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal
Free and Open to the Public
You're invited! Join Jay Walder, Chairman, Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Paul LeClerc, President, The New York Public Library; and Kathryn Court, President and Publisher, Penguin Books; for a special book launch for Know the Past, Find the Future: The New York Public Library at 100, NYPL’s free Centennial book.
Enjoy a special guest appearance by the Harlem Globetrotters! Hear readings by actress and singer Martha Plimpton, musician and writer Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding), and 2009 National Book Award Winner Colum McCann, with music by Tin Pan Blues Band from Music Under New York.
Be one of the lucky individuals to pick up a free copy of Know the Past, Find the Future, generously published by Penguin Classics to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Library's iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42 Street, on Thursday, May 19, starting at 10 a.m. Books will be distributed at the Times Square, Grand Central, Bryant Park, Herald Square, and Union Square MTA subway stations, and all 90 NYPL locations — WHILE SUPPLIES LAST! Keep an eye out for your free copy. You won't be disappointed!
There is just one caveat: in the spirit of library book borrowing, readers must promise to pass the book on to ensure that the Library’s riches reach as many people as possible!
Know the Past, Find the Future includes an introduction from Library President Paul LeClerc and features photographs of and essays by more than 100 New York luminaries — from comedian Stephen Colbert and writer Jonathan Franzen to actress Mary Louise Parker, writer Zadie Smith, and many more — with their all-time favorite item from the Library’s vast collections.
Want a sneak peek? Favorite selections from the Library’s collections include photographs from Dorothea Lange’s American Country Woman Series, our original Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals, and even Charles Dickens’s favorite letter-opener — the shaft is ivory, but the handle is the embalmed paw of his beloved cat, Bob, toenails and all!
The eclectic mix of items reflects the amazing scope of the Library’s collections and NYPL’s place as a repository of human memory.
Among the more than 50 million items in the Library’s collections are things that people don’t necessarily save for posterity — such as restaurant menus. Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter chose Ye Waverly Inn’s “Daily Menu” from 1964 — one of the 40,000 historical menus housed at NYPL — to feature in the book.
“It’s something of a delight to discover that three of the principal joys of the manly arts — smoking, drinking, and eating — are represented in an institution as temperate and august as New York’s beloved Public Library,” says Carter.
“For if there is anything aside from pure historical scholarship that tells us what it was like to live back when, it is the trappings of pure enjoyment. And if there is a single document that harks back to those long-frowned-upon pleasures, it is the restaurant menu. History is most surely made at night.”
NYPL’s majestic 100-year-old Stephen A. Schwarzman Building has been a never-ending source of inspiration — for a novel, an invention, a new career, or as a welcoming place to pull up a chair and open a book. Discover its past, find your future, and join in the Centennial celebration!
Available as a free ebook from these vendors: