1. So, at several of our branches, we have been asking NYPL users to share what they’re currently reading, first by scribbling the titles down on a flyer and then sharing the info on social media (hashtag #readnypl). It’s an opportunity to share a love of reading, but also make useful recommendations to fellow bookworms. We’ve gotten lots of great responses … and a few hilarious ones, like this one from our Todt-Hill-Westerleigh branch on Staten Island. “I am reading this flyer,” it says. OK, OK, that’s pretty funny, wise guy. Can’t help but appreciate that humor. So - what are you guys out there actually reading (and don’t say this Tumblr post)? Tell us here, on Twitter, or Facebook. We want to know!

    So, at several of our branches, we have been asking NYPL users to share what they’re currently reading, first by scribbling the titles down on a flyer and then sharing the info on social media (hashtag #readnypl). It’s an opportunity to share a love of reading, but also make useful recommendations to fellow bookworms. We’ve gotten lots of great responses … and a few hilarious ones, like this one from our Todt-Hill-Westerleigh branch on Staten Island. “I am reading this flyer,” it says. OK, OK, that’s pretty funny, wise guy. Can’t help but appreciate that humor. So - what are you guys out there actually reading (and don’t say this Tumblr post)? Tell us here, on Twitter, or Facebook. We want to know!

  2. Was one of Brooklyn’s finest in Harlem in 1939? This Sid Grossman photo of “Harlem Loiterers” from the Prints Collection at NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research In Black Culture has created quite a stir since being posted to the Center’s Facebook page the other day. Why? Because the man on the right looks a heck of a lot like Jay-Z (for evidence, check out these photos of Jay-Z when he visited The New York Public Library in 2010). Cue Twilight Zone music, right? Schomburg’s Curator of Digital Collections Sylviane A. Diouf found the photo while researching an exhibition, and said, “I was immediately struck by the similarity to Jay-Z and actually laughed out loud … I still hope somebody will tell us who that young man really was.”
So is Jay-Z a time traveler? Is this someone else - anyone know who? What do you think?

    Was one of Brooklyn’s finest in Harlem in 1939? This Sid Grossman photo of “Harlem Loiterers” from the Prints Collection at NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research In Black Culture has created quite a stir since being posted to the Center’s Facebook page the other day. Why? Because the man on the right looks a heck of a lot like Jay-Z (for evidence, check out these photos of Jay-Z when he visited The New York Public Library in 2010). Cue Twilight Zone music, right? Schomburg’s Curator of Digital Collections Sylviane A. Diouf found the photo while researching an exhibition, and said, “I was immediately struck by the similarity to Jay-Z and actually laughed out loud … I still hope somebody will tell us who that young man really was.”

    So is Jay-Z a time traveler? Is this someone else - anyone know who? What do you think?

  3. We were visiting the Maps Division today and spied a book from the fantastically-named Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, published around 1837. The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (also known as SDUK) published several interesting books for the diffusion of knowledge, including one about “Vegetable Substances,” many of which you can find at the Library.

    We were visiting the Maps Division today and spied a book from the fantastically-named Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, published around 1837. The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (also known as SDUK) published several interesting books for the diffusion of knowledge, including one about “Vegetable Substances,” many of which you can find at the Library.

  4. Caturday gets into the holiday giving spirit this week, with this absurdly cute 1914 image from our Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection. Although the photo is titled, “A Xmas Shopper,” we’re sure Santa Claws here has plenty of gifts on his sled for those celebrating Hanukkah (which starts at sundown tonight - so Happy Hanukkah all). By the way, if you are looking for gift ideas, check out our Library Shop, and if you’re looking to send a gift that keeps on giving, make a donation big or small to help the Library serve the public, and send this very photo (or another of your choosing) as an eCard. We thank you in advance, and happy Caturday!

    Caturday gets into the holiday giving spirit this week, with this absurdly cute 1914 image from our Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection. Although the photo is titled, “A Xmas Shopper,” we’re sure Santa Claws here has plenty of gifts on his sled for those celebrating Hanukkah (which starts at sundown tonight - so Happy Hanukkah all). By the way, if you are looking for gift ideas, check out our Library Shop, and if you’re looking to send a gift that keeps on giving, make a donation big or small to help the Library serve the public, and send this very photo (or another of your choosing) as an eCard. We thank you in advance, and happy Caturday!

  5. The little cat in the bottom right-hand corner is as confused as we are by this truly bizarre Halloween card from 1908 that features two pumpkins smooching. The card - currently in our Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection - concludes our month of Halloween-related Caturdays with a big dose of weirdness (see Halloween Caturdays one, two, and three). The snuggling squash card was originally sent on Oct. 28, 1908 to East 166th Street in NYC. Happy Halloween, happy Caturday and happy October!

    The little cat in the bottom right-hand corner is as confused as we are by this truly bizarre Halloween card from 1908 that features two pumpkins smooching. The card - currently in our Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection - concludes our month of Halloween-related Caturdays with a big dose of weirdness (see Halloween Caturdays one, two, and three). The snuggling squash card was originally sent on Oct. 28, 1908 to East 166th Street in NYC. Happy Halloween, happy Caturday and happy October!

  6. Is Brad Pitt A Vampire, Too?

    So by now, you’ve all heard this crazy story about a Civil War era photo featuring a man who looks eerily similar to actor Nicolas Cage. The owner of the photo seems to think Cage is a vampire who has walked the Earth for all eternity … or some such insanity. Anyway, we flipped through our Digital Gallery of 700,000 images, and found this 1857 photo from our Manuscripts and Archives Division that includes a prisoner who we think bears some resemblance to Brad Pitt (or maybe Mark Wahlberg). It’s not QUITE as close as the Cage image, but c’mon - it’s not bad. We also found images that look similar to Matt Damon and Gerard Butler. Let the conspiracy theories begin.

  7. Lil Wayne Better Than Charles Dickens … Sort Of

    In a hilarious post yesterday by The NY Times blog “The 6th Floor,” The New York Public Library was a finalist in a “minimalist, midsummer Sentence Of The Week.” The writer narrowed six nominees to two finalists:

    1 - “The handle of this letter opener is the paw of Charles Dickens’s pet cat Bob.” (The New York Public Library exhibit “Celebrating 100 Years”). (Photo above by NYPL’s Jonathan Blanc)

    2 - “My picture should be in the dictionary next to the definition of definition.” (Lil Wayne)

    The results: “Lil Wayne refreshes a cliché by making it eat itself. Charles Dickens’s cat-paw letter opener is an instant classic among literary factoids — made infinitely better, somehow, by the fact that the cat’s name was Bob. It’s a tough call, but in the end I’m going with cleverness over reportage.”

    The winner - Lil Wayne. Oh well. As they all say, it was an honor just to be nominated.

  8. Honey Badger Don’t Care … But You Might

    Did you know that The New York Public Library has a photo of the honey badger in its collections? While we’re quite sure “honey badger don’t care,” we figured you might, so we’re trying to lighten up a slow Monday by sharing it. The honey badger - made famous by a hilarious viral video that Huffington Post dubbed “the best nature video of all time” - is also known as the Ratel, and it is featured on this cigarette card in our George Arents Collection. The card was published sometime between 1922 and 1939, and as you can see from the details printed on the back (shown below), the Ratel likes to eat honey, has loose skin, feasts on poisonous snakes, and is basically immune to bee stings. So the video is totally right! The honey badgers are just CRA-zy!

  9. There IS Life After Keith Richards!

    You can’t always get what you want - but in this case, we did. You may recall the story of legendary Rolling Stones rocker Keith Richards accidentally killing an orchid belonging to Marie D’Origny, deputy director of our Cullman Center For Scholars and Writers, when he visited the Library last October. He had a cigarette in Marie’s office with the window open, and the combination of smoke and frigid air was deadly for the delicate flower. Keef was very nice about the whole thing, signing the plant’s pot (AKA - his makeshift ash tray), but Marie still lost her orchid. Fast forward a few months, and under Marie’s green thumb, the orchid has been reborn! Look how well it’s doing! So, all in all, it’s a happy ending! All are satisfied.

  10. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!
While we do hope that you see some pretty spectacular fireworks today, we at NYPL most certainly do not advise that you follow the example of this 1904 Calendar from Burr Macintosh monthly magazine in which a child inexplicably snuggles up to “an explosive.”
We love our Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection, but, sometimes…  the things people liked in the past really blow our minds.

    DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

    While we do hope that you see some pretty spectacular fireworks today, we at NYPL most certainly do not advise that you follow the example of this 1904 Calendar from Burr Macintosh monthly magazine in which a child inexplicably snuggles up to “an explosive.”

    We love our Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection, but, sometimes…  the things people liked in the past really blow our minds.