Marquel, TPVs Times Newest Espresso Bars correspondent, was sipping his doppio macchiato, while skimming through the New York Times and noticing: Library Reveals Details and Costs of Upgrade Plan – The New York Public Library’s revised renovation plan is expected to cost about $300 million.
Under the new plan the famed stacks will not be replaced either by an espresso bar nor a spinning gym, but the space won’t be used for books either. The library’s plan is to leave it empty and bury all the library’s holdings under Bryant park.
Bury all the books? Marquel asked himself. The president of the library, a guy inappropriately named Marx, claimed that the building sucks and that when he was a teen, he “never” came to the library. He said he never even had the need to do so.
Why would a library appoint an anti intellectual to be its head?
Marquel was stumped but also burning with anger, to be explained later in this pioneering library article. Marquel made an appointment to meet with this anti bookish anti intellectual library head.
Did I say idiot too? Well if I didn’t, pencil it in.
I was nervous because I don’t like to spend too much time with idiots. My editor pointed out that I met with Hillary Clinton twice, as if it were the measles vaccine and it would make me immune. No, I just feared spending time with idiots even more. We have a limited time on this earth and every minute spent with an idiot is time better spent sleeping, eating a tootsie pop, or on an iv.
So I met this guy Marx. I couldn’t get over what he said. I asked him, “you don’t think this building is satisfactory, do you?”
“Actually, no,” he answered, “I don’t find it inspiring. A library should be inspiring.”
“Just a second,” I said, “where’s your dog?”
“My dog?” He asked.
“Yeah where the he’ll is it?” I questioned.
“At home,” he said. “Why would I have him at work?”
“Aren’t you supposed to have him with you at all times?” I wondered.
“No,” he answered, “why?”
“Because you can’t see!” I told him.
“He’s not a seeing eye dog,” said Marx.
“He should be,” I suggested, “then at least one of you would be able to see this building.” He looked at me unquestionably uncomprehendingly. “For your information this is one of the grandest public spaces in the city. It rivals Grand Central. When you walk in and see the staircases and the open space, and go up to the magnificent reading rooms, you are overcome.”
Again he just stared, so I added, “unless you’re blind. As a bat.”
“Most people don’t find it so” he said.
“Most people don’t read,” I pointed out. I continued, “This is one of the most inspiring buildings in the world and you don’t find it inspiring. It is a temple to knowledge, to intellect, to books. BOOKS!” I yelled at him.
“We need to increase traffic” he said.
“Maybe you should get people to read more,” I suggested.
“That’s impractical.” He asserted.
“What’s this about not coming here when you were a boy?” I wondered.
“It wasn’t an attractive destination.” He said.
“When I was fifteen I went out on my first real date,” I told this bozo. “Do you know where we went?”
“I hesitate to guess,” he answered.
“Here,” I said, “right in this building. I went on countless dates here. It was a dynamite place for a date. The only problem was that you couldn’t go in the stacks. But now that you’re not using them you could let people go down there. You want traffic, let kids take their dates into the stacks. You won’t get them out.”
“I think that’s impractical too.” He said.
“Of course. You never saw any ‘need’ to visit the library because you found it ‘uninspiring’ but that’s probably because you never had a date who could read. I don’t mean to be rude. It’s understandable for a blind person.”
“I’m not blind” he insisted.
“Oh yes you are,” I argued. “But your other plans seem equally blind in a rhetorical sense. Why aren’t the stacks going to be used? Why are you putting all your books under Bryant Park?”
“We need the space for restaurants, a bigger gift shop, and several espresso bars.” He explained.
“Why not just sell the entire library to Starbucks?” I questioned, “I think a lot of their customers actually read books.”
“We couldn’t reach an agreement with Starbucks,” he answered.
“What was the sticking point?” I wondered.
“It’s funny,” he said, “they felt the same as you. They wanted the books back in the stacks and use that area for coffee drinking.”
“Sounds great,” I said.
“No. We told them at the outset that if we sell the entire building the books don’t go with it. They wanted the books.”
“They do read a lot.” I said. “But obviously you need the books.”
“We could clear several billion with our rare books and we couldn’t just throw them into the sale.”
“You were going to sell them too?” I asked.
“Well without the building,” he said, “who needs them?”
I could see all my fears were not exaggerated. The library is in the hands of the philistines.
I said good bye and led him back to his desk and sat him in his chair. Not blind, my eye.
BY MARQUEL: Humorless Groucho Marx in Charge of NY Public Library