Those who want to see the widest possible variety of animal life in the Bronx will make their way to the Bronx Zoo--a splendid example of its type.
My foray last week, however, had other destinations. The origins of "safari" come from the time of caravans walking across East Africa. The walking tour, organized by the Bigelow Society of the New York Public Library--my place of worship of choice, featured two of the library's eighty-seven branches in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. (Queens and Brooklyn each have their own system!)
Our first stop was the Bronx Library Center, near the legendary intersection of The Grand Concourse and Fordham Road. The building, erected in 2008, won an award for environmentally friendly design. It is perfectly lovely. At 10 AM on a rainy, chilly Friday morning, the branch hosted many patrons working on their research and using the computers, and a delightful group of kindergarten-first graders trooping in for a lively story time. The mural at the top of this post is on the wall of the children's floor.
Since I warned you that we are on safari here, have you been on the lookout? Did you spot the lion in the center of the mural?
Anytime the New York Public Library is involved, you must be on the lookout for lions. I have many times shown here the most famous pair--Patience and Fortitude, who grace the main research building in mid-town Manhattan.
Only two members of the NYPL- supportive Bigelow Society were stalwart enough brave the elements--both of us crime fiction writers. Our next stop was Mecca for us.
Here are SJ Rozan and me on the steps of Poe Cottage, one time residence of the grandfather of mystery writing – EA Poe.
Wildlife on view there is predictably the raven--mascot of mystery writers everywhere.
While dodging raindrops on our way to Fordham University's beautiful Bronx campus, I caught no glimpses of wildlife, my vision being blocked by the use of an umbrella and a widebrimmed hat.
|There may have been birds at home, but they were uninterested|
in being photographed.
Once we were on campus, we made a beeline for the museum. Who knew? There is a marvelous collection of Byzantine and Etruscan antiquities, which yielded many bird and animal sightings. The pottery is largely Etruscan, the mosaics are Byzantine from Syria.
|I include this only because, given all the wine glasses I have broken while|
washing dishes, it knocks me out completely to see a collection of intact
glass objects that are two thousand years old!
The campus chapel yielded the usual sightings of the eagle of John the Evangelist and the lion of St. Mark.
The chapel is the setting for a scene in one of SJ Rozan's stories--a thriller written with her partner Carlos Dews under the pseudonym Sam Cabot--The Skin of the Wolf. I highly recommend it. But do yourself a big favor: start with the Blood of the Lamb--the first of the series.
Our last stop was the Belmont branch, in the Arthur Avenue neighborhood, which serves a number of the city's immigrant groups, including children's books in their native languages.
|The Belmont branch also gave us our one view of exotic flora|
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY!!