I’m sitting in the local history area of the NY State Library. I’ve come to look at three newspaper articles pertaining to my school district history project. The newspaper I need has not been digitized and is still on microfilm. Not a problem, I’m familiar with most types of microform.
However…you saw that coming, didn’t you…however, the film must be pulled from the basement of this enormous building. They only do that every half hour and tack on a half hour for it to be delivered. I must pass almost an hour until it’s in my hot little hand.
As a dedicated reader and researcher, I’ve always loved libraries. But I don’t know what transpires within libraries to turn the workers into passion-less entities who seem very unhappy in what they are doing. Hey, I know a few librarians and they are certainly not like that in their behaviors.
I digress because I am impatient and don’t like sitting idle. Heck, I’d be happy to take the elevator to the basement and get it myself but that’s not allowed. Still, I’m very fortunate to have access to a wonderful repository of history. The fact that it is housed with the NY State Museum is an added bonus.
There is a sweeping panoramic view of Albany and its surrounding areas from my 7th floor perch. The windows are hazy, maybe they are meant to be but they look just plain filthy. To distract myself I’m allowing my mind to wander and to think of what this view would have been like a few hundred years ago.
Given our spate of tropical downpours lately, I’m sure the residents would have worried about the encroachment of the Hudson River on their settlement. In the early days, housing and businesses were close to the river’s edge and there were no mechanisms in place to control flooding. Because Albany is almost at sea level and the Hudson is a tidal river, it flooded often. That would lead to outbreaks of illness and disease for which little treatment was available. Makes me feel darn fortunate.
The vista still shows plenty of trees and hills in the distance. It’s easy to imagine the rolling hills and farmland that occupied this space until 100 years ago. Some of what I see in the distance was land that is integral in the project I am researching here today. The circle closes. And it’s almost time for my microfilm to appear.