Thursday, September 18, 2014


I couldn’t have cable TV where I lived in Brooklyn.  The cable company would have had to drill a hole through the house wall to run the cable and the landlord just wasn’t having it.  So, if I wanted to watch a movie or full season of a TV series, I had to get it on DVD.

At first, I went to the Brooklyn Central Library seeking DVDs.  The library was walking distance away and housed in one of the most beautiful buildings in Brooklyn, right next to the Brooklyn Museum at Grand Army Plaza.  Right inside the front door, I had to journey through a metal detector  – like airport security – passing a desk with armed guards, which made me believe this was some kind of special library with rare books or something.  I never figured out why they were there. 

The metal detector was in an anteroom that runs the length of the building.  There were offices that open off of it on one side and the other side houses glasses cases displayed old photographs of Brooklyn and antique Brooklyn artifacts.  Straight ahead was a huge opening into a massive room that felt like a rotunda because the ceiling was four stories high.  This was where the checkout counters were as well as the return counter – and I learned I needed to wait until my books were scanned by the librarian and I got a receipt.  Because, otherwise, they went missing and I was welcome to pay for them.

On the other side of the room was a small coffee stand with a few tables in front of it where people sat and read as they ate a donut and drank coffee.  And in the center of the room there were rotating displays – sometimes photographs and art which could be spectacular, other times there were displays of Brooklyn history.

One of the educational displays was about the draft riots in New York City during the Civil War.  The message in the essays accompanying the photographs implied that it was racial bias that made the Irish immigrants create a riot because they were unwilling to go off and fight in the Civil War. Actually, the resistance was both practical and economic.  The Irish didn’t want to live in worse conditions than they were experiencing already in New York before being maimed or killed in the war, while the freed slaves stayed in New York and took their jobs.  Brooklyn Library made no mention that the Irish had been recently deported from Ireland by their landlords who did not wish to pay to feed them and where they were starving in ditches during the Great Irish Famine.  In New York, the Irish were unwelcome and treated like cockroaches.  No Irish Need Apply was typically appended to ads in newspapers and placed on signs at store fronts into the 20th century.  

So, anyway, I did attempt a few times to check out DVDs at the Central Library, only to find every single time, that the DVD was missing.  Meaning stolen.  The library policy was that, even if you owed fines on materials, you would not be stopped from checking out further materials.  There was a limit on the amount of DVDs that a patron could check out at one time, but that was handled by having library cards issued to every member of the family.  I supposed that if you knew you never needed to return them, the DVDs could be sold.  

Sometimes, I was able to find books at the library, although often those were stolen as well.  This, of course, gave irony to the armed guards and metal detector at the entrance.

But, the building really is beautiful and worth visiting.  And they do offer free lectures and classes that are excellent.

For my movie watching, I joined Netflix.

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