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Summertime lunch in Bryant Park, Aug 2009 - 27

This was the only Kindle I saw in the entire park, though there were half a dozen laptop computers in evidence. Nevertheless, it was still evident that here, in the shadows of the great New York Public Library, old-fashioned books still reign supreme...


Note: this photo was published as an illustration in a Sep 2009 Squidoo blog titled "Buy Kindle." It was also published as an illustration in a Sep 2009 Squidoo blog titled Play Chess Against the Computer" (which makes no sense, since this guy isn't playing chess at all). And it was published in a Sep 29, 2009 blog titled "Kindle news: K-machine wiki for libraries, an email list for e-booking librarians, and an estimate of 10M Kindle owners soon." It was also published in a Nov 5, 2009 blog titled "E-reader market no more than 25M units at current prices? Plus other stats—and Sony Readers vs. p-books as pick-up bait in bars." And it was published in a Nov 7, 2009 blog titled "Write an eBook And Start Earning What You’re Worth." It was also published in a Dec 4, 2009 blog titled ¿Te vas a comprar un libro electrónico estas Navidades?"


Moving into 2010, the photo was published on page 10 of the class notes for a university course called "Mobile Applications." And it was published in a Feb 6, 2010 blog titled "Der Pad der Hoffnung." It was also published in a Feb 18, 2010 Lithuanian (?) blog titled "Mintys apie skaitmenines knygas (vietoje diskusijos Knygų mugėje)." It was also published in a Jun 28, 2010 blog titled "I libri di carta sono per le donne, quelli digitali per gli uomini." Don't ask me why, but it was also published in an undated (mid-July 2010) blog titled "Why Are Childrens Bikinis Padded?!?!?!?!?!?" And it was also published in an Oct 13, 2010 blog titled "Could you give me your opinion on my ebook?" It was also published in an undated (late Nov 2010) blog titled "Knowing Where To Buy Amazon Kindle 2." And it was published in a Dec 15, 2010 blog titled "TRY OUT A NOOK OR KINDLE BEFORE YOU PURCHASE."


Moving into 2011, the photo was published in an undated (early Jan 2011) "Where Can I Buy a Book" blog titled " I never ordered Amazon Kindle book “the New oxford American Dictionary”?" And it was published in an Apr 20, 2011 blog titled "College Students Use E-Readers More, But Still Like Print." It was also published (again) in a Jul 12, 2011 blog titled "TRY OUT A NOOK OR KINDLE BEFORE YOU PURCHASE." It was also published in an Oct 22, 2011 blog titled "Thoughts on the Battle of the Kindle vs the Nook." And it was published in a Dec 25, 2011 BlueMeanieMe blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page.


Moving into 2012, the photo was published in an Oct 17, 2012 blog titled "How To Write A Great Childrens Book." It was also published in a Nov 19, 2012 blog titled "Amazon Enhances Its Position in Academic Markets with Launch of Its Whispercast System."


Moving into 2013, the photo was published in a Feb 8, 2013 blog titled "Pas d'enthousiasme estudiantin pour les manuels scolaires numériquesSous les pavés, les pages..."


Moving into 2014, the photo was published in a Mar 21, 2014 blog titled "48 % des achats de livres numériques réalisés sur des sites d'opérateurs." And it was published in an Oct 31, 2014 blog titled "Here's How Long To Wait For A Price To Drop Before Buying The Latest Tech."




I had a lunchtime dentist appointment in midtown Manhattan the other day, and when it was over, I decided to walk a couple blocks over to Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library. It was a sunny day, and I thought I might see some gorgeous babes sunbathing on the park lawn in their bikinis (even being an amateur photographer is a tough job, but someone's gotta do it). If not, I thought perhaps I'd find some photogenic tourists or oddball New Yorkers that I could photograph.


As it turns out, almost all of the central lawn was being covered over with some kind of wooden platform -- presumably for an upcoming concert performance of some kind -- so nobody was sunbathing out on the grass. But since that area was unavailable, and since it was still the lunchtime period, the periphery around the central lawn was chock-a-block with people. There's now a cafe immediately behind (i.e., to the west) of the library itself, and it was doing a land-office business. And all along the north and south sides of the park, as well as the broader western side, there were tables and chairs and benches where people could enjoy their lunch with whatever food or entertainment they had brought along.


I was already aware of the pentanque court on the western side of the park, and knew that I'd find one or two good pictures there. But I didn't realize that the Parks Department had set up two ping-pong tables, as well as several tables for chess-players. In addition, there were a few card games underway, and there was also a section set aside for people who wanted to borrow local newspapers to read.


As for the people: I had to remind myself that because Bryant Park is smack in the middle of mid-town Manhattan (a block away from Times Square, filling the square block between 41st/42nd street, and 5th/6th Avenue), most of the people enjoying their lunch were office workers. So the men typically wore slacks and dress shirts, and a surprising number of them were also wearing suits and ties. The women wore dresses and skirts, and generally looked quite fashionable and presentable. Of course, there were also tourists and students and miscellaneous others; but overall, it was a much more "upscale" bunch of people than I'm accustomed to seeing in my own residential area on the Upper West Side.


I was surprised by how many people were sitting alone -- eating alone, reading alone, listening to music alone, dozing alone, or just staring into space alone. You'll see some of them in this album, though I didn't want to over-emphasize their presence; equally important, many of the loners just weren't all that interesting from a photogenic perspective. So you'll also see lots of couples, some children, a couple of families, and occasionally larger groups of people who were eating and chatting and enjoying the warm summer day.


Three activities dominated the scene, all of which were fairly predictable, under the circumstances: eating, reading, and talking on cellphones. You would expect people to be eating at lunch-time, of course; and you wouldn't be surprised at the notion of people reading a book as they sat behind the New York Public Library on a warm, sunny day. But the pervasiveness of the cellphones was quite astonishing ... oh, yeah, there were a few laptops, too, but fewer than I might have imagined.


I've photographed Bryant Park several times over the past 40 years, going back to some photos of 1969 Vietnam War protest marches that you can see in this album. I was here in the summer of 2008 to take these photos; I came back in January 2009 to take these photos of the winter scene; and I returned again for these pictures in March 2009 and these these pictures in the late spring of 2009; all of these have been collected into a Flickr "collection" of albums that you can find here. But if you want to see what New York City's midtown office workers are doing at lunch, take a look at what's in this album.

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Taken on August 25, 2009