In certain ways, I relish the fact that I am “old school.” In the days of IPads and Kindles, I am a steadfast lover of books—everything about books. I spent many professional years working among book publishers and academics and now, as a wedding officiant and Celebrant, I sit in the shadows of the glorious New York City Public Library, preparing to celebrate the wedding of a lovely couple at the Bryant Park Grill.
Over the last several weeks, my radar has been attuned to simple, funny, and sentimental references to books in my midtown Manhattan world. It started, I suppose, as I strolled down Library Walk, on 42nd street, between fifth and Madison. For, every few feet one will come upon an engraved plate in the sidewalk, with a notable quotation about books such as “Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.” The outdoor installation envelops on of my favorite smaller hotels in New York—The Library, where each floor’s decoration corresponds to the Dewey Decimal system. The hotel has been the location of several book-loving couples I have served over the years. The hotel is brimming with books and remembrances of the beautiful NYPL.
But it isn’t just NY library branches around town that reflect New Yorkers’ long-held devotion to books. Mammoth Barnes & Nobles stores dot the landscape of Gotham City. And even now, there are postage stamp book sellers that are opening in Manhattan, such as the Posman bookstore in the concourse of Rockefeller Center. Moreover, perennial institutions such as the legendary Strand bookstore boast a flagship store in the Village and a sidewalk market tucked against the Fifth Avenue edge of Central Park. Last week, as I made my way home to the Upper East Side, I even noticed that the iconic retailer Bergdorf & Goodman, with teir award winning window displays had “taken a page from my favorite playbook,” using book manuscripts as part of their high fashion exhibits. I guess I’m not the only one who is old school about books!