Look! A Real Ship’s Library!

I decided to take a look at the ship’s library, and boy was I surprised.

Other cruise lines have a “library,” which is usually shelves of books, in open cases, where people can help themselves to what they want. The Queen Mary 2 has an actual library. The bookshop (where they are selling books and trinkets) is part of the complex. The circulation desk and the cash register is the same area. I found really strong, florescent lights (ick!) that illuminated the cases. The books were on shelves with lips on them (to stop books from spilling over on rough seas) and the cases actually locked! Passengers were allowed to borrow two books and they had to be back before the ship returns to New York. I found two books I liked then decided to sit and read them there. (They were mostly just photographs.)

I wandered around and found computers for the Internet and spaces to sit and read. The stacks were pretty big, running the aisles and around the rim of the room.

I haven’t seen a ship’s library like this since Semester at Sea. I’m impressed.

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Good-bye, New York!

I’m off on a cruise on the Queen Mary 2 for the holidays. My ship left the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal after 6 last night. The area around the cruise terminal, as you can see, was industrial, except for the spectacular view of downtown New York across the bay and good view of Governor’s Island. Otherwise, there wasn’t much to write home.

My cabin, though an interior room, is quite nice. I’ve got a king-sized bed and am enjoying that! I got a bottle of Champagne courtesy of the captain.

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Graffiti from the Past

When we think of graffiti, we usually think of spray painted signs, walls and doors with anything from a symbol or word, a hodgepodge of designs to a unified mural. In most cases, graffiti is considered bad, disrespectful, and ugly.

What about graffiti from 1,850 years ago?

These two profiles were etched into a column with other signs and symbols in front of the Southeast Building (built ca. 150 CE) in the agora in Athens, Greece. The profiles could have been drawn by anyone living today. However, they were not.

These copies come from an American School of Classical Studies at Athens agora excavation report. When I saw them I got chills. Who were these people? (I assume at least two, as probably the latter one was added close to the earlier profile.) Were they students at a school? (The Library of Pantainos was next door to the Southeast Building and apparently had similar graffiti on its columns.) Did these people know each other? Did they end up as artists? As philosophers? There is no way to know.

Nonetheless, these doodles are a bridge to people who lived in another time and place.

Goosebumps.

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What is this?

I spotted this little animal in Fort Tryon Park, nosing around not too far from people sunbathing.

Is it a hedgehog? I know at least one person out there who will know.

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The Rat Comes to Tarrytown

(2017-06-15 001)In June, I was surprised to find the inflatable rat near the Tarrytown Village Hall. I’ve seen The Rat in New York City in front of various buildings where union protests are going on.

There was also a sign from the disgruntled workers. They were shaming Alpine Painting, and their protest was right across the street from the train station.

(2017-06-21 001)The rat appears when non-union workers are used on jobs or if the employer is doing anti-union activities.

One must be wary of all types of rats.

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Parthenon Marbles Coming to the Graduate Center

City College was given copies of the so-called Elgin Marbles–the Parthenon Marbles–as a gift in 1852 from Charles M. Leupp, Esq. The casts, made in the 1830s, were among the first to be sent to the United States. The casts have been in storage until recently. The sculptures are now going to be mounted in the CUNY Graduate Center Library. They will line the wall along 34th Street.

This is exciting.

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Amtrak–at Grand Central

I was going home the one day when I saw an Amtrak train on the screen. Intrigued, I walked over to the track and snapped a quick photo.

According to the conductor I talked to, there will be “a few” Amtrak trains in Grand Central until September, when all the Amtrak trains will be running from Grand Central. Grand Central will be Amtrak’s station until the Empire Tunnel is repaired, at which point Amtrak will return to the hole in the ground that is still called Penn Station although that complex was torn down in 1969.

Wonder what will happen if the Amtrak passengers like leaving from Grand Central instead of the hole in the ground?

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