Friday, July 15, 2011

The New Amsterdam Public Library, Manhattan



This is the Bathroom Key for the New Amsterdam Public Library in Lower Manhattan. The key is attached to two black metal bookends with their bottoms somehow stuck together. The key chain is a series of day-glow green plastic chords strung together. On one of the book ends the librarians taped a label made of white paper that says "Bathroom Key". Undoubtedly this is to make sure that no patron mistakes this for, say, two bookends stuck together.

The arrangement is awkward, as when one enters the bathroom it is not obvious how one should rest the key without causing it to drop. Surely its fall would result in a loud clang upon the bathroom tile, or something louder were it to hit one of the exposed pipes that run under the sink. It would be the height of embarrasment to be shushed by a librarian while one was on the porcelain throne. For what, for the noise made by the key, or for noises otherwise emitted?

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