William Cullen Bryant, Grolier Club

Occasionally during a semester we in my department take annual leave days to research and write. Today was one such day for myself. I was fortunate because the rain and snow came in buckets. I can hear people shoveling outside as I write this. I did not leave the house today. I did two loads of laundry downstairs and otherwise stayed in. It turned out to be an important day because I managed to finish the draft of Incorporating New York. The manuscript landed at almost exactly 75,000 words. Of course there is still a great deal of work to be done. I’ll be spending the next several weeks editing and fact checking. After that, I’m going to organize the references. These are not small things. Still, today has proven to be an an important benchmark in the project. The structure of my text is now set and these is no more primary research to be done. The task is more clerical now. I cannot tell you what a burden this lifts from me. I am going to keep grinding in the coming days and weeks to make the narrative as tight as I can make. I’m really happy with how things have turned out.

I had a small serendipitous moment last night. A friend and I attended a science fiction talk and reception last night at the Grolier Club on East 60th Street. When I was leaving I noticed the painting you see above. I did not know who it was at first but it turned out to be William Cullen Bryant, a member of the club and a good friend of, among others, Frederick Law Olmsted. Bryant is a minor character in my book. I love visiting places like the Union League and Grolier Clubs and never pass up a chance to visit when invited. I think that institutions like these provide continuity, which is no small thing in a place that changes as quickly as New York City does. This was in evidence last night; they’re constructing a modern building right next to the Grolier Club. Change is one of the themes of my book. I couldn’t help but take a quick snap of the painting before heading out last night to beat the snow home.