The Underground New York Public Library

The subway system in New York is the great unifier. It’s the only place in the city where people from all walks of life, with entirely different destinations, and not one word to say to one another are in a pretty intimate space. It’s not just complaining about train delays that bring people together, however. According to photographer Ourit Ben-Haim, it’s the worlds we escape to in a good book on those trains that brings us together as well.

Ben-Haim loves reading and she loves seeing others read. There’s something magical about a person engrossed in a good book. The image was inspiring enough that in 2008 Ben-Haim snapped a photo of a person reading on the subway with her cell phone camera and it spawned a project that’s been going on for years and now has a huge following of people who check daily for more. The idea is simple, but it captures so much about Ben-Haim’s subjects, and about New York itself.

Bananas, Bands, and Library Cards

Lou Reed, Maureen Tucker, and Doug Yule, members of the pioneering New York City art band The Velvet Underground, will be reuniting for a public appearance at the New York Public Library on December 8. The influential musicians will not be joining together for yet another band reformulation, but they will be key speakers in a panel discussion with rock journalist David Fricke to discuss their music and influence in the budding art scene that germinated from New York during the sixties.

The band forum, a part of the “LIVE from the NYPL” series, is a response to growing interest in the group by way of the release of the new book, The Velvet Underground: New York Art. The book contains a rare collection of handwritten music and lyrics by Reed, unseen performance photographs, underground press clippings, and posters and cover art by Andy Warhol, the group’s manager/producer during their early years.