In New York City, the natural urge is to look up. Up at the towering skyscrapers. Up at the cathedral spires. Up at the neon extravaganza of blazing signs in Times Square.
But on a trip to NYC a few months ago, I found myself looking down. And my heart rose for it.
I was walking to the main New York City Public Library—another NYC landmark that compels your eyes to look up, with its soaring ceilings, breathtakingly tall columns, and overarching paintings and murals.
But outside the monumental library building, inspiration lies underfoot.
Along the Library Way, a two-block stretch of 41st Street that leads to the library’s entrance, a series of bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalk celebrates literature and reading. The plaques, created by sculptor Gregg LeFevre in 1998, are the result of a collaboration by Grand Central Partnership and the New York Public Library. Each plaque contains quotes from books and authors from a broad span of eras and genres, with the words from ancient writings as relevant as more modern ones.
If you find yourself in NYC, go ahead and look up. There is much to appreciate in the loftier realms of this storied city. But when your steps lead you near the New York Public Library, do yourself a favor and look down.
Library Way’s reminders of the immeasurable value of our ability to capture the human experience in stories will both ground you and inspire your creative spirit to soar.[All photos by Kelley J. P. Lindberg]