Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Edgar Allan Poe Room at NYU

When I was a weirdo kid, I was pretty into Edgar Allan Poem. I haven't read much of his work in a long time, but since he was one of the first "adult" poets I read, I have a soft spot for him. So, when I found out that NYU had turned one of his homes into a study room at the law school dedicated to him, I had to check it out on my lunch break.

Edgar Allan Poe lived at 85 West 3rd Street from 1844 to 1846, when he moved up to the Bronx. (I'm definitely planning to check out that cottage, probably this fall!) At that residence, he wrote "The Cask of Amontillado" and revised "The Raven."

Unfortunately, NYU tore down the building, and rebuilt the facade about half a block away, with the original bricks and some minor interior elements kept intact, as part of the creation of their law school. The room, which is open to the public on Thursdays between 9am and 11am, includes the window frames, a selection of bricks, a curved part of the staircase bannister, and a laylight from the original house.

It also features a timeline, reproduction of the raven, and a case with a bit of Edgar Allan Poe memorabilia, as well as some bottles and pottery from a tavern that was located near the house. The bottles were discovered during the excavation for the new building.

Although it's disappointing that they couldn't retain more of the original, I know that history must move forward, and I do appreciate that they've created a small tribute to the house and the author in the study lounge that is now there. They still host events there a few times a year, which hopefully I'll be able to check out the next time they have one!

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