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Little Free Library

I moved into a new neighborhood which feels like a community, not a city. The realtors now call it Hudson Heights though—in the day—it was simply Washington Heights. George hung out here during the Revolutionary War, the highest point on Manhattan Island; it was a fortress. The footprints of that war are in the names of many streets. Now “The (Lower) Heights” and the (Upper) Heights, known as Inwood, are largely Dominican and Hudson Heights—artists, young families—is squeezed between them, contiguous peaceful neighborhoods. And because all the streets are narrow and there are no high rises, the hood has a human-sized village feel. It reminds me of London and, with its hilly terrain and a view of the GW bridge at night, San Francisco.

Still unpacking boxes and boxes of books and belongings, I took a break on Sunday morning to walk the neighborhood and pick up a few groceries. A hot humid summer morning, dog walkers, runners, and Kelly Evans Ruby in the “Children’s Garden” at Bennett Park working the soil. City gardening has been a favorite antidote to the sedentary writing life. I chatted to Kelly for a while, told her about my experience with the Central Park Conservancy and Riverside Park Fund, and volunteered.

At the west entrance to the small park, a structure that looked like a bird house was painted artfully with portraits of community dogs by local artist Gareth Hinds. The post was donated and constructed by Kevin Orzechowski, also a local resident. The Little Library even has a Local Little Librarian: Oshrat Silberbusch. A community project indeed. Inside the Little Library: books for adults and children. This was a book exchange, a national initiative known as “The Little Free Library.” It’s adorable: http://www.littlefreelibrary.org/ and anyone can do it! This is their mission statement: "To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations."

That’s impressive.

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