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Posts by Bernard van Maarseveen

The Third Level

AskNYPL recently received a question that I've paraphrased here:

I have been searching for years for a short story (fairly well known) about a man coming from work and taking a train in Grand Central Station. He mistakenly goes down a wrong stairway and boards a train that takes him to another time and place. Sometime like the mid-1800's and a quiet, rural place. The man was amazed by the simplicity of everything around him and how content he felt there. He reboards the train, promising to return. The story ends with him unsuccessfully 

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Written on the Walls at NYPL

I recently answered this question which had been sent to AskNYPL:

"When I visited your main building on 5th Avenue I saw in the entrance a plaque or motto (I think on a pillar) which stated WHY this building was erected. The gist of the thing was that the library was built because a democracy needs an educated and enlightened people. I would love to have the EXACT WORDS of the thing, because the quotation would suite very well into the library discussion we are having here at the library where I work."


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Howard Zinn (1922-2010)

Here’s a link to Dr. Zinn's New York Times obituary.

“Howard Zinn, historian and shipyard worker, civil rights activist and World War II bombardier, and author of ‘A People’s History of the United States,’ a best seller that inspired a generation of high school and college students to rethink American history, died Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 87 and lived in Auburndale, Mass. 

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The corner of Fifth and New Grub

“No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library; for who can see the wall crowded on every side by mighty volumes, the works of laborious meditations and accurate inquiry, now scarcely known but by the catalogue…”

— Samuel Johnson Rambler #106 (March 23, 1751)

I’m a little less than halfway through George Gissing’s New Grub Street (1891), a delightfully 

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One topic that we can all agree is interesting: good cheap eats around Mid-Manhattan

One topic that I know everyone here at Mid-Manhattan Library is into, and that I’d really like to get a good discussion started about, is something near and dear to everyone’s heart - in fact, according to staff at our Health Information Center, it is located directly below the cardiac muscle. The topic is food, and where to get a good cheap square meal in this neighborhood.

I myself have a few regular lunch stops, listed here in no particular order:

Curry Dream - 66 West 39th (btw. 

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‘Tis the season to have an affective disorder

Christmas has returned to Midtown again. We all know the holiday tableau – the brightly twinkling lights, the piping hot hot chocolate, the carefree skating in the park, and the happy shoppers thronging the streets overflowing with song and good will towards men. Being in Midtown is like living inside a snow globe.

And yet, to many New Yorkers, all this cheer feels terribly out of synch with an inescapable melancholy. Maybe it’s the incessant drone of canned X-mas tunes spooling out of the loutspeakers in Bryant Park, or the frozen spit on the sidewalk, 

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