Library & Rainy Walk – Delight 6

In the days and weeks leading up to our trip, Hans and I made a list of things we’d like to do while we were in New York. We don’t really need a list—our mutual company fills our time well, but it was fun to put a few ideas on paper. Because our first few days were consumed by jet lag, rainy weather, and concentration on our remote work, we camped inside the warmth and good views of our room.

Hans had a meeting this afternoon, and as luck would have it, one of the things on our list was on the way to his meeting place, so I planned a solo outing while he met with colleagues. As we set off, a light rain fell. We passed several street vendors who had magically appeared to sell umbrellas. We walked past them. We didn’t have far to go. We parted ways at the corner of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue. The rain kept falling, but I was warm in my orange vintage coat. I crossed the street and quickly climbed up the north entrance steps and was inside the great building.

With brochure map in hand, I felt like a story book character alone and on the cusp of an adventure. I didn’t know what to expect or what I’d see, and I was excited to set aside my usual need for a plan. I walked through the Visitor’s Center, and then found my way to the Library Shop. Since I was on my own, and I dearly love a museum shop, I strolled and took my time looking at every display, picking up journals, browsing the postcard selection, and reading the synopsis of a novel that features the NY Public Library. (Note: my library has The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis, and I’ve already reserved it!)

Once I’d completed my souvenir shopping, I moved on to the other levels. On the third level, I entered the McGraw Rotunda. I’d seen the postcard, and opted not to buy one, but when I looked up, I wish I had. Libraries are sacred space to me, and this room took my breath away. I watched as other visitors looked upward and aimed their phones at the painting above. I chose to stand out of the foot traffic and take mental photos. The room is dim and an entry point to other rooms accessible to researchers. As my visit came to a close, I found a cool spot to take a couple of pictures, and then I ventured back outdoors.

Now the rain was falling steadily. I’d wrapped my postcards inside the pamphlets in the hopes that somehow, they would stay dry and set off back toward our hotel at Broadway and 47th Street. The walk in the rain, and the chance to experience New York Public Library on my own, were a delight. I picked up my pace because by now the rain was falling harder, and I was still determined to not purchase an umbrella on the street.

I was dazzled by the traffic and lights, fellow travelers and the over-the-top billboards and lights of Times Square. Hans texted that he’d soon be on his way back, and could I pick us up some dinner from our new favorite sandwich shop? Once back in our room, I hung up my coat, and blow dried my wet hair. The chill of the afternoon evaporated.

I was excited to visit New York City because it was where Hans was going to be for work. I did not expect to enjoy the city the way I have. (More on that in the next few days’ delights.)

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