Holiday Open House @ the New York Public Library
On Sunday, December 4, 2011, the annual Holiday Open House was held at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on an unseasonably warm day. Prior to 1 p.m., the start of the party, the line outside the 42nd Street entrance near the Children's Center at 42nd Street ran alongside the building to the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, then snaked back on 42nd Street to the entrance again.
This year's Friends of the Library holiday celebration is on Sunday, December 2, 2012 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. in the Stephen. A. Schwarzman Building. The minimum contribution to become a friend and secure an invitation for this year's bash is $40.
On the ground floor, in the Celeste Bartos Forum, there was a band, food, and an open area for dancing. The Children's Room at 42nd Street was also open for perusing the stacks, etc.
On the first floor, the Map Division, decorated with poinsettias, housed one of the intellectual challenges of the party. On two long tables, various maps were spread out, and each one was attached to a clue. The grand prize for "Mapping the Movies 2011" was a book. They also had computers with large screens in the room, one of which was set to Google Earth, which is very interesting to look at. There were three large globes in the room, as well as framed maps on the walls and in the display case. This is a very attractive room. The Library Shop was also open, in case party attendees wanted to do some Xmas shopping while they were there. In Astor Hall, there was a band set up, all members of which were dressed in red Santa suits and hats, playing jazz.
Costumed characters circulated amongst the party goers on every level of the building. My personal favorite was of a guy dressed up as a Xmas tree. You could only see his face; the rest of him was a green cloth tree with ornaments. There were Tin Men and a Fairy on stilts walking around in Astor Hall. There was a Grinch, and Patience the Lion. Mother Goose was also circulating among the partygoers on the 2nd floor.
There were staff volunteers helping collect invitations and a library staff member in the Map Division talking to the party goers about maps. I saw NYPL President Tony Marx circulating amongst the party goers on the second floor.
If you would like to attend the fantabulous bash next year, you can become a Friend of the Library. The minimum donation for a party invitation (you can bring 1 guest) is $40.
The Dewitt Wallace Periodical Room was also open on the first floor for people to come in and look around. They had pretzels and soda on the first floor, among other refreshments. In the South Court, there was origami for kids. They had a lot of red tablecloths at the party. They had a circus in the South Court Auditorium. The clowns were dressed in black with red noses. The two clowns were constantly trying to out-perform each other. They started with balancing items in their teeth in the air. One clown did a broomstick, the next clown did a larger broomstick. Then they balanced chairs of progressively increasing weight in their teeth. They also balanced knives in their teeth, with the blade in their mouth. They balanced golf balls on the ends of sticks, and spun plates on sticks (with the help of a boy volunteer). They also recruited an adult volunteer to help with a disappearing bottle experiment. It was the volunteer's first time helping magicians.
At one point, the clowns told us that they were going to teach us a magic trick and that they needed to tell us a magician's oath. The magicians said, "Repeat after me!" A boy from the audience faithfully said, "Repeat after me." One of the magicians hopped off the stage at that to give the boy a high five. Another trick was one of the magicians telling the other to fold a bandana, and the other magician had a banana, so he was folding the banana, which ended up disappearing in a piece of cloth. The kids repeatedly yelled to him, "It's a banana!!!" during the performance. The clowns tried to out-do each other while juggling, as well. They juggled, progressively, 3, 4, and 5 balls. One clown juggled three knives, including throwing one behind his back. They ended with their signature statement, "I'm David. I'm Peter, and we are two goofy guys!"
The second floor had face painting for the kids. They also had a magic show on the second floor. There was also a guy with a boing-y Santa hat.
On the third floor, the Solomon wireless room was open. There were paper gingerbread people crafts for the kids. In the Bill Blass Catalog Room, party goers could stand in line for a tour of the miles and miles of stacks.
The entire celebration somewhat reminded me of the grand opening celebration for the new Kingsbridge Library on June 28, 2011. There was an entire day-long series of festivities planned, including the children's musical performers of the afternoon, Presley and Melody on the lower level, after the talk by the then-Kingsbridge Library manager, Victor Simmons, then-NYPL President Paul LeClerc, and various elected officials. They also had a Bronx Historical lecture and jazz on the first floor for the adults.
The Holiday Open House at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library has a lot to offer the Friends of the Library. It had the intellectual challenge for adults. Many senior citizens enjoyed sitting at the tables covered with red tablecloths on either side of the jazz band in Astor Hall. There were many family-friendly activities for the kids, including storytelling, face-painting, crafts, a magic show and a circus show. Of course, the beautiful tree, adorned with garlands, ornaments and birds stood proudly in Astor Hall near the entrance guarded by the Lions Patience and Fortitude. It is a great building; the staff and customers are so friendly, and the celebration was so pleasant. I loved the circulating costume characters as well. This is something that I don't often see at parties. It gave the gathering a somewhat mystical or fantastical atmosphere.
Mark Your Calendars!
December 2, 2012 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
New York, NY 10018
Save the date for our most popular event of the year! The Holiday Open House is our way of saying "thank you" to generous supporters like you.
Invitations will be mailed in November.
For more information, please call the Friends Office at 212-930-0653.