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
right next to the
at Brooklyn Museum . 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. Grand Army
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
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
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.