Since it opened in 1911, the building has become a New York City landmark, praised not only for its beauty but also for its functional brilliance. In the words of one contemporary architect, the main branch of The New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42ndStreet is “a perfect machine for reading.” The grand Reading Room sits atop seven levels of iron and steel books stacks whose contents could, at one time, be delivered to anybody who requested a book within a matter of minutes via a small elevator. Those stacks also support the floor of the Reading Room above.
“I met Jane Freilicher the day I arrived in New York in the summer of 1949, just after I graduated from college and decided to move here on the advice of my friend Kenneth Koch.”
John Ashbery talks about his friend, the painter Jane Freilicher, in the January 2014 issue of Poetry.
Ginsberg howled in Tompkins Square Park
dogs lifted their legs and listened to Nietsche
Burroughs sat naked eating his lunch
while Corso stood on point
Kerouac danced into the end zone
his Buddha giving high fives
the Giants did not call
Ferlinghetti rode the Coney Island
dogs trotted freely in the streets