Saturday, October 22, 2011

History on 53rd


Can you guess what this is??

It is one of the coolest things I've seen in NYC.

I'll give you a hint: November 9, 1989

No, still don't know? How about this: East and West

Okay fine, I'll tell you.

This is a piece of the BERLIN WALL!!

How cool is that!

Located on 53rd between 5th and Madison Avenues, this piece of the Berlin Wall is just one of many that were distributed throughout the world after its fall.

The Berlin Wall was a symbol of the Cold War, and its fall on November 9, 1989 represented the demise of the Communist Regime.


The history of the Berlin Wall is a bit complicated, but in a nutshell: 
During the Cold War, Berlin was divided into two parts - East Berlin was under the Communist regime and West Berlin was not. With the wall as a barrier, East Berliners had absolutely no contact with the modern, more advanced West Berlin. When the wall came down, East Berliners who had been so used the the backwards Soviet way of life, were finally exposed to the modern world.

Here is a great site with more information about the Berlin Wall.

Be sure to check it out! It's a real piece of history!!!

Oh, and there are some fantastic water-fall like fountains there, too :-).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ghosts in the Library (or Studying Around Town)

I know that many of my readers are students like me who spend a lot of time studying. The nature of studying is to find a quiet place where you can study undisturbed. I've shlepped my notes to random places around NYC and have discovered some great places as a result.

I think the #1 studying spot for anyone in a big city (or small for that matter) is Starbucks. I know it's not an original place, but still... nothing beats Starbucks!


I am lucky to have a Starbucks directly across the street from my home, and I frequent it on a regular basis to do my school work. The best time? Early in the morning, or late at night. I tend to avoid mid-day because I can never find a seat.

If I find myself studying later than 10pm (when my Starbucks closes), I head uptown to Columbia University where they have a Starbucks open until 2am.

Recently, a friend directed me to the New York Public Library Rose Main Reading Room on 42nd Street and 5th Avenue. (The library with the lion statues on the outside):


This room is exquisite!! I tried to find the best picture I could that would accurately show its elegance, but as with everything in life, you have to experience it in person to get the full effect.

The Rose Reading Room is the length of two city blocks, and weaves together old-world architectural elegance with modern technology. Long oak tables and brass lamps, marble arches and pillars, and the best of all - an amazing mural on the ceiling! Of course, there is free public wifi.

The room underwent a multi-million dollar restoration in 1998. The effects are magnificent. Although the quiet atmosphere is highly conducive to studying, its beauty and detail captivated me so much that I found myself getting distracted. Only once my eyes were satisfied was I able to focus on my work.

The first scene of the famous movie Ghostbusters was filmed in the NYPL Reading Room. Check out this hysterical spoof in the Reading Room by the brilliant group Improv Anywhere:

I think it is so cool that we have this spectacular room in the middle of the big city. It is definitely a haven from all the noise and dirt outside.

This library is located right next to Bryant Park, so you can head out there if you need a change of scenery.