These partners for life stand guard at the entrance to Boston Public Library. No doubt that they are on the lookout for people with overdue books and unpaid library fines. Maybe not being a partner for life is not such a bad thing after all. Partners
You don’t need a big room like this to enjoy reading, yet there is something very conducive, perhaps even seductive, about an airy library space that entices the book browser to sit down and enjoy an extended period of quiet and intellectual stimulation. Quiet reading places can be usually be found at home, but use of a public place to sit down and absorb an engaging piece of literature is also very rewarding.
Both Boston and New York have excellent public library systems, each with their own late 19th century edifice that is worth a visit just to admire the exquisite architecture and interior design of each place. When in New York be sure to check out the Rose Room on the second floor of the library at Bryant Park. With an elaborate wood decor and heavenly murals placed across the ceiling, this vast space is like the Sistine Chapel of US libraries.
Besides the exquisite Reading Room the Boston Public Library has a pair of lions and and several gallery spaces are worth checking out, plus a fancy restaurant called Sebastian’s. All in all, it is a great space to spend a few minutes or the whole day.
Bookstores, although not as ornate, still can provide a rich experience for those who like the idea of having a printed word or image that has been printed on paper and bound within a soft or hard cover. Of course, the idea is to purchase a book and take the reading material home. How these institutions will survive the growing phenomena of the e-books is beyond me, but I do enjoy visiting the brick-and-mortar merchants and bringing home a new book.
In retrospect, anyone visiting NYC or Boston ought to check out these institutions along with the adjoining plazas and park areas. In the process you will learn much the creation of both interior and exterior public space in two of the Northeast’s most important cities.
I made my monthly journey to Boston yesterday and just happened across an exhibition of vintage travel posters at the Boston Public Library. The exhibition, called “Away We Go”, features several dozen beautifully framed vintage color lithographs from the Golden Age of Travel. Once matted and placed behind glass the posters present a large and formidable object, but fortunately the BPL viewing gallery is quite large. Every poster is mounted on a folding stand and then each stand is spread around the room like a line of dominos.
As a result the room is filled with a circle of stunning color graphic images that were printed and displayed in an age when pulling a 30 by 40 color print was not the expensive undertaking that it is today. The 20 foot ceilings of the gallery space, provide an excellent viewing area for observing the posters.
There is even a central lounge area, complete with over stuffed leather chairs, where visitors can sit and relax or thumb through one of the handful of travel books left on a table. These books are contemporary travel guides and picture books issued by modern day world travelers like Lonely Planet, Traveler’s Tales, Rick Steves and National Geographic.
And I just couldn’t resist of giving you a quick tour around the world with some images from the collection at the Boston Public Library. These images are all on display online on Flickr. The images posted here are different from those used in the show , but the show has many great pictures from all around the world of comparable design and imagery. Some mention should does go out to the International Poster House a private business, located on Newbury street, which assisted in the presentation.
And finally for those, who can’t get enough of vintage travel posters, here is a link to the Los Angeles Public Library, which has its own poster collection.