Monday, November 12, 2007

Deep in the Batcave

Thanks to my incredible friend Alex and the wonders of Picasa, I can now pepper my blog posts with pictures. This is particularly lucky, as I went exploring this weekend.

I went back to the Hall of Fame yesterday. My friend Justin was visiting, and he'd never been there, so we took a little walk. As always, it was deserted.

He chose to have his picture taken with Thomas Jefferson.

Here's a random picture of the Poe bust. I took it a few months ago, when I first visited the Hall of Fame:

Doesn't Poe have the coolest plinth? I love the little raven and (presumably black) cat. The rest of the plinths are unadorned.

I really like the word "plinth." Unfortunately, I can't use it very often.

As we were leaving, I noticed a pathway that led underneath the colonnade. Following it down, we came to an unmarked door that was open. As there were no "Keep Out" or "No Trespassing" signs posted, Justin and I assumed that we were permitted to look around. We went down a creepy hallway:

It was incredibly hot in the hallway, as the numerous radiators were all turned on full-strength. I was a little nervous about meeting a janitor or security guard, but figured that I could bluff may way through, if need be. My bigger worry was that we might meet a homeless person who had chosen to move in. However, the hallway was pretty clean, apart from the occasional empty water bottle or candy bar wrapper.

We soon came to to another hallway, which had cell-like doors:

We couldn't understand why this section looked like a prison or insane asylum. Some of the cells were filled with files:

While others looked like creepy musical practice rooms:

And still others looked like 19th-century court rooms, complete with gallery:

We eventually came to a huge auditorium. It was beautiful, and was in great shape. It was clear that it was used regularly. Access to the upper level was blocked with velvet ropes, so we stayed on the lower floor:

After we left, we wandered up another stairwell. This one was more ornate:

It led into the library. I'd been inside the library before, but hadn't wandered around too much, as it is a little forbidding.

From the outside, the library looks like the Pantheon. Inside, it is circular, with beautiful marble columns. It has four floors, and is capped with a rotunda, which features statues of the muses ringing the interior:

Behind the columns, the walls have compartments painted with the names of famous authors. Justin noticed that one of the compartments in the Ancient Roman literature section was pushed back, revealing a room behind it:

As there were no signs warning us to not trespass or keep out, Justin and I determined that this was a legitimate place to wander. On the other side of the door, we found room after room of empty bookshelves:

Some of them reminded me of the creepy gothic house in Edward Scissorhands:

We carefully watched our step. It was clear that there has been minimal maintenance in this library since NYU moved out in 1973. There were places where the wooden floor looked untrustworthy, and some of the glass brick tiles were cracked. Still, it was an amazing library, with little reading rooms and places in which the stacks continued through the floor:

There were also beautiful stained-glass walls:

For all of the deterioration, the library was in surprisingly good shape. Considering the fact that it has been neglected for the last 30+ years, it's amazing how well it has held together. Stanford White really knew what he was doing!

After walking from floor to floor, we finally found ourselves at the top of the library, in the rotunda:

Apparently, they have tours of the old library. I'm going to have to look into it, as I really want the wife to take a peek. I wonder if they'll let us walk all the way up to the rotunda.

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  • Creepy place. In your last picture, is that flare in the image or orbs??

    By Blogger Claudia, At November 12, 2007 at 1:22 PM  

  • Flare. I was right by one of the spotlights.

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 12, 2007 at 1:29 PM  

  • I was struck by the thought that in 2,000 years when this is discovered by future civilizations, they will attempt to make sense of it according to the lifestyle of their own era, as archaeologists have done with ancient ruins in Rome and Greece.

    How ironic that few present-day people have ever seen this place, but those future scientists will assume that it was a hub of our world and that, perhaps, we worshiped our ancestors or conducted sacrifices there.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, At November 12, 2007 at 8:33 PM  

  • This is a super cool place. It's unfortunate that it is just sitting there slowly decaying. The hallway with the cell doors looks right out of a horror flick though. And those creepy rooms. Ack, thankfully you had a friend to walk around with in there. I would have been too creeped out to go it alone.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 12, 2007 at 11:37 PM  

  • I love the second picture it is very well done

    By Blogger Nosjunkie, At November 13, 2007 at 2:36 AM  

  • Plinth: You could always talk of the British royal family in a Japanese accent with a lisp - you'd have fair cause to use it then.


    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At November 13, 2007 at 6:44 AM  

  • You're a very brave man for going thru those hallways....Damn....
    I like the word "plinth" too...I'll have to find a way to use

    By Blogger Odat, At November 13, 2007 at 11:34 AM  

  • Hearts-
    I really like that idea. Truth be told, it will make us seem deeper and more interesting than we actually are.

    Reflecting Pool-
    I definitely wouldn't have gone it alone! It was really nice to have a friend to go exploring with.

    Thanks! I really liked the creepy angle on the tunnel.

    Thank you. That is sure to come in handy!

    Maybe the secret is that we have to hang out in more places where plinths congregate!

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 13, 2007 at 8:16 PM  

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