Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The audacity of slope

I've realized that some who read my blog may have the impression that I was on vacation in New York for six months (in some ways that's an accurate assessment, I guess), because I've written next to nothing about my "official" reason for being there. The next few posts will take care of that.

I was in New York for work. I'm employed by Backstage Library Works, a company that "provides professional and technical services to help [libraries] get information resources into the hands of [their] patrons." We had a contract with Columbia University to scan some archival documents. They didn't want the documents to leave the premises, so we had to send someone to work on site, and I volunteered (so glad that I did). Usually when we have an on site project it's for two weeks or less (the only other time I travelled for work, in August '06, I was in Scotland for ten days, which was very cool), but we estimated that this one would take about four months. It ended up taking six, which I definitely didn't complain about.

I'll save more of the work details for the next post, though. First, I want to show what I had to go through every day just to get to work (well, until I wised up and started walking or taking the bus up to Broadway and catching the 1 train, which goes right to Columbia).

If I took the B or C trains (the ones closest to my apartment), when I got off I'd have to walk a few blocks, then make my way through Morningside Park to get to the Columbia campus. It was nearby Riverside Park that had to deal with the Lopper, but Morningside had something just as killer: 160 steps to climb (only 155 and a small ramp if you used the adjoining entrance, but still...). Here are a few pictures of the ascent that awaited me each time I walked this way.

I was surprised to see a turkey wandering around this area once, but it turns out it's not abnormal.

Somewhat daunting, but when you reach the top you're rewarded with this view.

Ok, the view isn't that great in January. But, at the top of the stairs you do to get to see this statue.

I'm sure most of you can easily read the writing on the statue, and the rest of you probably recognize the man's face immediately, but in case some of you still don't know, this is Carl Schurz, who had a pretty distinguished career but perhaps most notably founded (with his wife) America's first kindergarten. If that hadn't happened, it's doubtful Bryant Salmon and I would've had a venue to chase and catch people, hold them down and say "we don't care, we don't swear, we don't wear no underwear." The man clearly deserves an even bigger statue. I guess I'd better get to work...

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