Tag Archives: New York

Will somebody please tell me what the hell has happened to the New York Public Library. I’ve only been gone from town for four or five years. One of the things I’ve always loved about this city is what a fabulous library system we have. However, since I’ve been back, half the books I want to check out are listed as only available by reserve at the main branch, which I won’t call by the name of the arrogant millionaire who paid money to get his name on the building.

I was writing something and wanted to check out a detail that I had read in a book years ago. The book is Albion’s Seed by David Hackett Fisher. It’s a commonly cited book. It shouldn’t be rare or hard to find at all. If there is an example of the sort of book that public libraries were intended to make available to the public, that would be it. Yet, the New York Public Library only has one copy and it’s not even a circulating copy. It can only be read by appointment at the millionaire’s name building. This is not the first time I’ve had this happen. Multiple times this year I’ve bought books at the local Barnes and Nobles because they were only available on reserve at the library. What the hell is going on? Why are so many books reserve only? I used to use the library all the time. In fact, when I was in college, I rarely used the school library and was able to use the Mid-Manhattan Library for ninety percent of my academic papers.

How can there have been such a decline in such a short period of time. I have my speculations, but this is just going to be a petulant little outburst so I can get back to writing my longer thing. Barnes and Noble’s had the book for same day delivery in Manhattan. I just have to decide if I want to spend the money.

If anyone runs for mayor based on restoring the library, and I mean the collection and the hours of operation, not the damned building, which has been restored with funding from millionaires, I will vote for you!

‘Cause I’ve seen blue skies
Through the tears in my eyes
And I realize I’m going home.

 – I’m Going Home“, by Richard O’Brien from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

Several times, I’ve started this post and I keep stopping. Baltimore is something of an underdog city and I have enough of an instinctive sympathy for underdogs that I can’t help feeling almost guilty for hating it. To put it in the most neutral terms possible, I just haven’t been able to fit in here. Perhaps it’s my fault. New York is perhaps the last city to need one more booster, but there we go. I like New York.

Mensa having a preacher at their monthly meeting was certainly not the first time I felt alienated here, but it was the one that finally clinched it. It said to me, “No, you will never make friends here.” It’s been four years and there is probably no one here with whom I will keep in touch after I leave with the exception of my sister and brother-in-law. The cost of living is so much lower here than in New York City that I kept hoping that somehow I could make it work, by traveling more, by doing things that I was unable to do in New York like gardening, but it just wasn’t enough to make me happy. I suspect the isolation was making me a little bit nuts. It’s funny, because I’m introspective and just a touch introverted people think I should do well alone. It’s quite the opposite. Since I’m not especially gregarious I need many opportunities to make contact with other people in order to take advantage of the few occasions when I feel moved to reach out.

They say you take yourself with you wherever you go, but in my experience that just isn’t true. I’m not the same person in everyplace, or at least I don’t behave in the same way. Some people find New York too hectic. One friend left after 9/11 for that reason. I’m just the opposite. To me, everyone here in Baltimore looks like they are walking with the weight of the world on their shoulders. It makes me feel like everything is hopeless. Furthermore, the place is ugly. For better or worse, I’ve always felt very sensitive to my surroundings.

I know that the popular belief these days is that depression has a biological source, but I’ve always felt that living in Baltimore was a major contributing factor in my depression. I guess I’m going to put that to the test. Just the thought of moving back to New York has made me significantly more cheerful during the past week.

A few good things have come out of moving here. I feel closer to my sister than I have since we were teenagers. I had a chance to live in an architectural masterpiece. A former boyfriend from New York said that he heard that living in a place like this is not as enjoyable as it sounds. That is totally untrue. The building and the apartment are great. If I could bring it to New York with me I would. However, in New York I would never be able to afford it. I had a chance to learn programming and to learn more about plants.

People do choose to live in one place over another for a reason. Sometimes it’s a job or family, but many people go to New York for New York itself.

Well, I’m going to be pretty busy during the next couple of weeks. I have a new place to fix up and an old place to get ready to sell.

Get my sister Sandy
And my little brother Ray
Buy a big old wagon
Gonna haul us all away


Oh, Baltimore
Man, it’s hard just to live
Oh, Baltimore
Man, it’s hard just to live, just to live

from “Baltimore,” by Randy Newman