On 41st Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, leading westward toward the New York Public Library’s main building at 41st Street and Fifth Avenue, is a sidewalk, studded with shoe leather buffed bronze plaques bearing illustrated quotes of literary ‘celebrities’ that allude to New York, its citizens and its offerings.
It’s not a destination, just one of those discoveries you should notice, if you keep your eyes open as you walk the streets around Grand Central Station, The Chanin Building, Socony-Mobil Building, the The Main Library and ‘Alice and Olivia‘.
Most profound to me, particularly for these times in which the President of the United States of America bad mouths, slanders, ridicules, defames and teases almost everyone he fears, is this one by Langston Hughes, an African-American poet, social activist, novelist and playwright:
“There are words like liberty / That almost make me cry. / If you had known what I know / You would know why.”
Unless you are Donald Trump.
Ninety-six bronze plaques sculptured by Gregg LeFevre, a Greenwich Village sculptor feature quotations from other famous writers like Albert Camus, Mark Twain, and Dylan Thomas. Artwork illustrates their words.
Like Jenny Holzer’s work for the AIDS Memorial in the West Village, such installations are likely to be overlooked by fast-paced New Yorkers, faces buried in smart phones, ears glued to cell phones, twisting and turning like dancers, oozing through otherwise impenetrable crowds.