Underground New York Public Library

The Underground New York Public Library is a visual library featuring the Reading-Riders of the NYC subways.
This project is not affiliated with The New York Public Library


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UNYPL in 2012: The Regulars

It’s about to be a full year that I’ve been blogging the Underground Library. It’s been a year of so many discoveries and experiences. One discovery I had may seem plain, but it felt profound to experience it through photography. I discovered that a reader is… a Reader. In looking for people who were reading, I found that they were there as a kind. Books weren’t just an item they had with them. They were indications of a larger relationship that defined them. When I posted a reader whom I had photographed twice, someone commented that it was like a love story. I like that and I agree. Readers are in love with the world around them, and their relationship with the books that reveal it to them is an enduring one. 

Here are four readers I happened to see twice over the course of the year. Regulars of the Underground Library. From top to bottom.

  1. When I first saw him, he had started reading “New York,” by Edward Rutherfurd. More than a month later, I saw him again when he was almost done with it.  
  2. I saw her in the summer, when she was reading "Consider the Lobster and Other Essays," by David Foster Wallace. On a recent cold morning I saw her again, still with David Foster Wallace, but this time reading his ”The Broom of the System.” 
  3. One of the first readers I photographed, I loved his hat and glasses. Last year he was reading ‎”Killing Time: The First Full Investigation into the Unsolved Murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman”, by Donald Freed. Eleven months later, I recognized him because of his hat and glasses. I wasn’t sure why I recognized him, until sure enough, he took a book out of his bag. This time he was reading ”Sidney Poitier: Man, Actor, Icon,” by Aram Goudsouzian
  4. I first saw him late one night, when I was tired and on my way home. But Jack London wasn’t yet in the Underground Library, so I took my camera out and photographed him. Early in the morning a month later, I was tired again when I saw him again, enjoying another story in ”To Build a Fire and Other Stories,” by Jack London.


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