If you were given an unexpected two weeks in New York City (actually 8.5 weekdays), how would you spend them? Not the way I did, it's a safe bet. While I did manage one or two obligatory tourist trips (more on that later), most of my time was spent at the New York Public Library—you know, the place with the magnificent lions out front, where everyone goes who wants to film something in a library because it's so beautiful. Though in truth I never saw the main part of the building. I made my home in Room 121, the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy. One of the best resources in the world, a perfect complement to my beloved New England Historic Genealogical Society Library in Boston.
As with February's research trip to Boston, this was an intense time. I estimate I spent 40 hours of those eight and a half days in the library itself; it turned out to be more blessing than bother that it didn't open till 11 a.m., as I needed the morning time to prepare. The library is less than half a mile, a mere eight minute walk, from the Times Square Hilton hotel where we stayed, and what a pleasure it was to sling on my backpack, descend via the Hilton's two elevators to 42nd Street, walk past Bryant Park, and enter the cool, dark research room with its intoxicating smell of old books; then to re-emerge—after gentle prodding by the librarians, who reminded me that the building was about to close—and reverse the trip with a head swimming with new data, and my sweet, hard-working husband and a late dinner to look forward to.Researching, writing, sitting for hours at a desk poring over books—that which was anathema during my school years gives me such great pleasure now. Who'd have thought?