Bohemia Blog by Agent Michaela Morton
When it comes to living in the big city, it's the little things that count. You know: shaving a little time off your commute, saving a little money on your rent, or checking out a book from your little free library. The bookshelves I'm thinking of are even more DIY than your local branch of the NYPL -- they're installations on street-corners and in parks, part of a network of Little Free Libraries that extends across the globe. In Manhattan there are two "official" locations, one in Harlem and one in Washington Heights (get uptown, booklovers!) and many more grassroots-beyond-grassroots locations. I live next to two "branches."
The first is unassuming and unofficial -- just a bookshelf with a plastic weather-protectant flap. It sits just above the A train and faces the Starbucks at 181/Ft. Washington, perfect for a casual browse while I'm waiting on a coffee date or a quick judge-by-the-cover-and-go as I'm running for the subway. In the last month I've picked up two novels, a spotless copy of the Moosewood Cookbook, a Spanish-English dictionary, and Erik Larson's Devil in the White City, a non-fiction thriller about more sinister city synergies. You can think of your picks as checked out or purchased -- I kept the cookbook, passed along White City to my housemate, and returned the novels (with a YA fantasy tucked in between them).
If 181/Ft. Washington is my local, then Bennett Park is my main branch. At the northwestern gate of the park, facing 184th St./Pinehurst Ave., it's the first community-organized Little Free Library in Manhattan. In lieu of lions, it's painted with images of local pups by illustrator Gareth Hinds, and is kept pristine by a library steward.
My local branch libraries are free, fun, and open 24/7 -- a pretty great picture of the uptown scene! Want to know more about the LFL system and other uptown draws for word lovers? Check out these links: