May 13, 2021

NYPL Is re-opening incrementally, NYT reports


Fortitude, or maybe Patience, standing guard outside the NYPL, which has recently made small steps towards re-opening. (Photo by Anthony Quintano, CC BY 2.0)

Ever alert for signs of an ending to our long national nightmare, we here at [virtual, still … but not for long!] John Street were pleased to see from the New York Times that the august New York Public Library is re-opening at last … sort of.

We were eager to learn more about this spiritually vernal event, but we found ourselves distracted by the unfamiliar … format the reporting took. Rather than an article, the information was presented in a series of … slides? kind of like a twitter thread? with pictures? Has the “Gray Lady” outdone herself once again in keeping up with the times? Has the Timesean campaign against all things cheugy opened up a new front? Will other newspapers follow this bold new path? I guess we’ll find out!

Dazzled, we considered making a few calls to our highly placed sources to get to the truth of this unlikely multimedia innovation, but decided to press on. According to the … thing … the main building at 42nd and Fifth remains closed except to researchers by advance appointment. The library, it turns out, is reintroducing public computer reservations and limited browsing “at select locations on a rolling basis,” with “no general space use, seating, or restrooms available at this time.”

Failing to gain entry to the Schwarzman Building and its fable Rose Reading Room, the intrepid Timesean scribe made her way to the 53rd Street branch — the architectural provenance and general affect of which still makes some purists grit their teeth. Grouchy managing editor commentary aside, the reporter’s foray was productive of a few human-interest-y observations, including the plangent remark that “the scene felt like a homecoming,” with “visitors slowly, almost tenderly,” picking through the books.

Aww. Meanwhile, for some time now the NYPL has for some time now offered “grab and go” service at quite a few of its branches. And for those who remain extra cautious, or just prefer to stay at home for now, the NYPL’s fabulous array of digital resources remains, of course, fully accessible as always. Meet us in the digisphere!



Michael Lindgren is the Managing Editor at Melville House.