Mad Ave on a Saturday Afternoon

The 15-year old and I set out to work this afternoon at The New York Society Library society ladies that we are not on East 79th Street between Madison and Park Avenues. outside_sign

A little fortification was in order prior to our labor so we stopped at Nectar Cafe on the southwest corner of Mad Ave at 79th Street. It was easy peasy to get a table for two at the noon hour and although rents may be high, could it be because the tab for two wraps ( hers: chicken cobb salad with mealy tomatoes and mine: turkey, albeit fresh, lettuce and a smidge of mustard, ) with one small coke came to $28.20? I rounded it out with a whopping five dollar tip for the harmless waitress dressed in a crisp white shirt with black pants.

Gone are the days when I’d hop from gallery to gallery along the Avenue looking at significant works of art on behalf of my art-collecting former employers. I know there are people still looking, supposedly buying and certainly lunching for far more than $33 for two. But more noticeable today, at least to me, were the participants in the Revlon Walk for a Cure dressed in gym clothes and their entry numbers. Only saw a few folk dressed in their gucci loafers and burberry or prada trench coats, but of course, it was only 1p by the time we set out across the street. Gallery going tends to begin after lunch.

We made our way across the street and into the hallowed halls of the New York Society Library, founded in 1754 by the New York Society, “a civic-minded group formed in the belief that the availability of books would help the city to prosper.”

And prosper, we do. At least the 15-year old and I prosper on the fifth floor of this quirky upper east side haven.stairs 255 years since its inception, the subscription library has a facebook page.

(note to old people: the teenager got her first glimpse today at an old fashioned card catalogue!

New York Society Library Card Catalogue

New York Society Library Card Catalogue

She’d never seen the oak drawers with little iron pulls that hold the secrets to the stacks and how to find what you might be looking for. The card catalogue hasn’t been updated since 1990, “since before she was born,” said she. “No wonder I’ve never seen such a thing!” said the teen.

But surely she must remember the elevators at the Los Angeles Public Library, papered with obsolete card catalogue cards? Um. Appears not.

Card Catalogue Drawer, Harvard Law School

Card Catalogue Drawer, Harvard Law School

One response to “Mad Ave on a Saturday Afternoon

  1. Uptown/Downtown

    While at my h.s. I remarked on the fact that the card catalogue was no longer there. A friend cracked that the students probably didn’t even know what one was. Your 15-year-old’s response solidifies my friend’s statement. Scary!

    I loved card catalogues and the little cards you would write your name on to check out a book. I loved seeing the names of people who took out a book before me.

    And, Nectar Cafe was a place frequented in h.s. due to its proximity to the Met. In and out quickly, but always for a pretty penny.

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