One of the greatest literary havens in the world is the New York Public Library, and this past weekend I had the pleasure of sharing it with someone who'd never been there before. My sister was visiting from Boston, and so I decided to take her to this classic institution. We explored the galleries and alcoves where many small, but unique exhibitions are on display, including one on Art Deco design, and another on recent photography taken in Afghanistan. We peered into the genealogy wing, and the map room, and gazed in awe at the painted ceilings in the reading rooms. There was also an ancient librarian sitting at the main information desk, who looked like she had time-traveled from 1962, with an orange beehive hairdo, a bright violet suit, and pink horn rimmed glasses. Tons of tourists were snapping pictures with her. Who knows if she even worked there?
On our way down from the upper level of the library we admired the dramatic staircases, and finally found ourselves in the basement level in the Children's Center. My sister is a self-proclaimed connoisseur of children's literature - she has a great eye for unforgettable stories, and couldn't resist checking out this section. We were able to peek in on the beginning of a story telling session, and picked up these fantastic book marks with prints from old nursery rhymes on them from the Library's Archives on our way out. One depicted this classic:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men Couldn't put Humpty together again.
Did you know that this was originally posed as a riddle, the answer to which, was that Humpty Dumpty was an egg? Over the years the riddle transitioned into a rhyme, and the answer was incorporated in to the illustration.
The New York Public Library really is a fantastic place to explore, every time I go there I discover something new in their collection, in addition to a new feature of the place itself.