99 West Village Writers
Hudson Park Library is one of the 67 New York City libraries funded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie. John Flood is the librarian.
“I started to investigate all the writers I could find who lived in the West Village, writers as diverse as Edward Albee, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Edith Wharton. And James Baldwin. I collected their addresses, and I write something about each of them on their birthdays. Lorraine Hansberry who wrote A Raisin in the Sun, is next up.
“The poet Marianne Moore lived just across the street from the library, at 14 St. Luke’s Place. She worked here for five years in the 1920’s, before she became famous. Theodore Dreiser and Sherwood Anderson lived on St. Luke’s Place at the same time as Marianne Moore.
“There are now 99 writers on my list and I celebrate them all. So it gives me quite a bit to write about.
“I come from a newspaper family. My father is 83 and still writes for a newspaper in Delaware. He started when he was 16. I wrote for some weeklies.
“The auditorium downstairs was used by the WPA during the Great Depression. They put on theatrical productions here. It seats 105 and has two dressing rooms. Eric Foner, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in history for his book about Lincoln and slavery, did a session here recently. A staged reading of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial will be presented June 2 in the auditorium.
“We are setting forth on a letter-writing campaign to counter the Mayor’s proposed budget cuts. If the cuts go through, 12 branches could be closed. The rest of the branches would be open just four days a week. Over 600 library staff would lose their jobs. We’ll see.
“Hudson Park is the only library branch that has toys and a play area. And the community likes that.” Readers sit at tables scattered throughout the very wide carpeted room. In one corner, Chris Ruiz, a member of the staff, reads and sings to the young kids who surround him. John Flood smiles.
“It does get loud, but students do homework here, they’re tutored here, and somehow, it works out quite well.”
Check out the interactive 99 West Village Writers Map here: http://westvillageweb.com/west-village-writers