Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The Braddock Carnegie Library
c. David Grim (taken 9/25/10)
Let me just say this so as you have it completely and utterly clear in your mind... the Braddock Carnegie Library is an exceptional piece of still existing history. Perhaps you saw the Rick Sebak documentary that featured a story about the place? I can't imagine that you would have and NOT taken the opportunity to see it in person. I went last Saturday and brought my camera with me. The Warhol Museum decided to throw some of its significant resources behind publicizing the library, and the result was "fun and food" (which I'll describe in a moment, so be patient).
I don't know the backroom machinations that led to this happening, but I'm glad to see a venerable arts institution truly invest itself with concern for a local treasure. It's remarkable whenever anybody here actually gives a crap about the unique stuff that is sitting in relative neglect here in the 'Burgh. Of course the Braddock community has worked hard to keep the building a functional lending library, and they need to be commended for fighting for its continued existence. But it really needs substantial funding to reach its full restorative potential. Now hopefully the Carnegie will take an interest in the Maxo Vanka murals before they degrade beyond repair, and I'll be able to give them props here for that.
Anyway, there were projects located on different levels of the maze-like buildings that encouraged exploring. GF and I checked out the pool that will likely never be swam in again, but must have provided amusement for thousands of kids. In fact there were a couple of older guys staring wistfully at the cavernous room and talking about how they themselves used the pool decades ago. There is talk about transforming it into a sunken stage area, but it doesn't seem like a sure thing.
Fortunately the amazing concert auditorium (which is indeed the oldest "Carnegie Hall" around) still exists mostly in its original condition.