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Posts by Cynthia Chaldekas

Books Go to the Movies: A Reading List from Open Book Night

Our discussion in our March Open Book Night: Books Go to the Movies covered a lot of ground. Movies and books strike a chord with everyone and we all had something to say.Read More ›

Open Book Night: Looking Forward, Looking Back

An informal, devoted group of readers discuss books we have read or are reading—based on a loose theme—each month. Read More ›

Game Changers: A Reading List from Open Book Night

This list of game changers focuses on anything and everything that made readers think differently about the book they were read or the books they may read in the future.Read More ›

Artist ELBOW-TOE: A Conversation with Brian Adam Douglas on Wed, Sept 1 @ 6:30, at the Mid Manhattan Library

“How do you begin?” I asked. "Well, I usually start with the head, the face, the eyes. Once I get the eyes I can move on.  The process becomes easier for me. It is at though there is a conservation going on between me and the piece and it is all because of the eyes. You know Lucian Freud always started with the nose, from there he would work his way out, letting the piece unfold naturally. I start 

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A Fight on the River

The mountains are rolling and green, hawks glide on invisible wind currents, endlessly circling gracefully above. On occasion a bald eagle soars powerfully across the sky; deer are a common sight along the river’s edge. The Delaware River is the dividing line between Pennsylvania and New York in this area. The river winds circuitously as it makes its way south to the coastal waters far below. The slow moving water of the Delaware creates a mirror image of the mountains and sky above. The Delaware River is clear and provides a magical window to the life and terrain below its sparkling 

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A Morning Bike Ride in New York City

It was a plan to get out early and it was a plan I kept to. I carried my bike atop my shoulder down my stoop and I was on the streets of Brooklyn by 9:00 AM. The sun was shining; the air was fresh and sweet. The hot sun had not yet evaporated away the luscious morning air. It was a perfect temperature out. The light shimmered as it bounced off the buildings. I made my way through the quiet of Brooklyn, one neighborhood melding into another by way of asphalt ribbons.

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Melody Gardot an Extraordinary Chanteuse Opens the 2010 Central Park Summerstage Series

volume 12 / FlickrMelody Gardot is a tremendously talented singer. I discovered her music while listening to NPR earlier in the year (I am so glad I donated!) It was one of those moments when I found myself half listening to the radio and then suddenly the sound coming out of the radio had my full attention, so captivating is her voice.

Even above the clank and woosh of the washing machine, dogs barking in the yard and horns honking in the 

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John Tauranac Talks New York City Subway Map History

Stephen J. Voorhies 1931 transit map coverA subway map of New York City appears to be completely utilitarian and to the untrained eye even pedestrian. In the eyes of another it is a document rife with information. What can be found in the subway maps of New York City is management lineage, a design statement, design history, history of the city, history of business, social history, aesthetics and intention. The adage of “read between the lines” reveals much when looking at a subway map.   At the onset of the New York City subway system, there were three ... Read More ›

William Grimes Gives a Taste of New York City

New York City is a restaurant town and to take part in many of the gifts the city has to offer, one must eat out. In 1980 I began traveling to New York City and by 1982 I was living here. The city was unlike anything I had ever experienced before and as a young woman I wanted to experience it all. I got a job as a waitress and stayed in the industry for 20 years. At the start of my waitressing career, my food knowledge was limited. Originally, I am from the Detroit area, I was a meat and potato girl, though I knew Middle Eastern food. The Detroit metropolitan area has the ... 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 

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Gina LeVay: SANDHOGS - Program on Monday, March 1 @ 6:30PM @ The Mid Manhattan Library

When I moved to New York City 30 years ago, I noticed immediately that NYC did not have the same kind of urban sprawl that Detroit did. When Detroit died there was tremendous outward growth, like you find when you throw a stone into a body of water and you watch the rings from the initial contact ripple out and away from the center. Detroit was the stone that splashed into the water and the vast rippling rings moving outward became the bustling suburbs. The flat farmland took on a new hue with cookie cutter houses and big tall glass buildings, and many, many strip malls, that seemed to 

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An Evening of High Drama: Jane Rosenberg Courtroom Artist: The Making of a Program

Sammy The Bull Gravano being questioned by John Gotti's attorney (1991). Jane RosenbergIt started with a raw idea based on a photograph of a drawing I saw in the paper. It was the work of courtroom artist Jane Rosenberg. And I had been noticing her pastel drawings for many years. I had been paying attention to her more than usual because at the time Jane was covering the trial of Anthony Marshall who was being tried for stealing millions from his mother, the great philanthropist Brooke Astor, while she lay in a diminished mental state, shortly before her death.


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Program with New York Times Sports Columnist George Vecsey at the Mid-Manhattan Library on Wednesday Nov 18 @ 6:30 on the 6th Fl

I hate to say it but the sports pages, I generally don’t read them. I like to watch sports but often the columns talk about sports in a way that makes it hard for me to understand. I often don’t know who they are talking about or I don’t know enough about sports so that a writer’s discussion of the minutia of a game will be completely over my head. Hence, this is the reason why I stay away from the reading the sports pages.

The writing of George Vecsey is something different. I am not sure exactly when I began reading Vecsey’s columns but I remember the first time, 

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J.P. Morgan: The Financier as Collector-Slide Lecture with Jean Strouse on Wed, Oct 28th @ 6:30 @ the Mid-Manhattan Library

The largest cultural institutions of New York City like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The American Museum of Natural History and New York Public Library, were established in the latter half of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. There was a major push among the wealthiest Americans to establish a cultural identity of our own. We were a young country, bereft of the cultural lineage that existed in Europe. Despite America’s youth we showed ourselves to be a vast country, devoted to the dollar, with seemingly room for little else. But men, like J.P. Morgan 

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Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York - Program on Mon, Oct. 26 @ 6:30 @ the Mid-Manhattan Library

The commercial strips of the neighborhoods of New York City are the lifeblood of the community and city at large. It is where the action is. People shop, stroll, and mingle on the street. In warm weather men often pull up chairs, to discuss the day’s events in front of their local barbershop, with the twirling barbershop poll acting as a beacon in the background. While bodegas with their blinking colored signs often seem to host a never ending domino game in front of their storefronts. And corner candy stores are magnates for youngsters, tossing balls or cruising on skateboards. 

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New York's Early Gravestone Imagery - Program at the Mid-Manhattan Library on Tuesday, Oct 20th at 6:30 PM

In the Rossville section of Staten Island there is a small little graveyard. It is hidden away, on the side of a two-lane road. This tiny graveyard seems out of place in an area that is dotted with light industry and that’s about it. The smattering of houses that probably once existed, as well as a store or two are long gone. Perhaps there was a ferry crossing here and a depot too, but whatever was here long ago is only represented by an early 19th century graveyard. The graveyard sits on a bit of land that is on the water, near the infamous

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Its That Time of Year Again...A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York

Almost 30 years ago, my husband and I stood on a corner in Brooklyn, to watch the New York City Marathon. We were essentially alone watching the runners on that cool fall day so long ago. We watched, as a trickle of runners became thousands of runners, coursing through the streets of New York City, eventually to the large fanfare that would greet them in Manhattan along 1st Ave, Central Park South and in Central Park itself at the finish line.

Since that day, I have watched a lot of NYC marathons. I live on a street that is steps away from 4th Ave, the long stretch the runners 

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Unread Until Now: Musings on Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"

I am embarrassed to say but up until a week ago, I had never read The Great Gatsby. I had never been assigned to read it in school and frankly over the years I never wanted to read it. I actually had developed an aversion of sorts to the book. This was founded on nothing more than air. Seems strange but I can develop an instant dislike to anything based on nothing and unfortunately have it flavor my feelings for a book and for that matter, a 

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Art and the Subway: New York Underground... Program at the Mid-Manhattan Library. Monday, Sept 14 @ 6:30 PM.

Artists have long used the NYC subway system as a wellspring of ideas, using their experiences to express themselves by way of the written word, visually on film, in oils on canvas, pen to paper, prints and sculpture. Sometimes the artwork is officially sanctioned and sometimes it is not.

When I moved to New York the 1982 the subway system was like a traveling road show of urban expression. Graffiti covered the walls inside and out, where there was a space to make a mark a mark was made. It was a cacophony of visual noise, much of which I could not 

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In Honor of a Recent New York Public Library Retiree Marie Zwanziger

37 years. That’s what it was, 37 years working at one job. She came to NYC from Strawberry Point, Iowa in 1970 and started working at New York Public Library in 1972 (can you believe that name "Strawberry Point"?, note there is a new book that was recently reviewed in the NYTimes Book Review, titled Methland – it recieved a good strong review too- the town that is the focus of that book is 20 miles outside Strawberry Pte! Dorothy, I guess you can never go home again.) She 

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