of One’s Own
Discover the special places two New York luminaries visit to unlock inspiration.
When he moved to New York City
in 2009, Evan Hanczor thought he might become a writer before his passion for food led him into the culinary world. Today, the chef and owner of Little Egg in Brooklyn feeds his literary interest as the founder of Tables of Contents, an arts organization that hosts delicious gatherings at the intersection of food, literature, art and culture. Recently, Hanczor has found himself frequenting the Brooklyn Public Library’s central branch on Grand Army Plaza—a short distance from his newly opened restaurant.
Growing up in a smaller town, the library was always a place I could escape to read or write, or just find some quiet away from home. Obviously when I came to New York, there were lots of places that serve that same function—coffee shops, cafés, even shared work spaces—but the library still has a hold on me. The hush you feel when you walk through the doors, the democratic vibe of it—it’s an energy I’m still very much drawn to.
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Brooklyn Public Library branch at Grand Army Plaza. It feels like a new and blossoming relationship. Besides being close to my restaurant, that branch has a farmers market next to it on Saturdays, so I’ll often go there to shop for Little Egg. Having this juxtaposition of the library and the market feels like this perfect microcosm of what I love about living in Brooklyn. It gives me this jolt of inspiration when I visit like, “Right, this is what it’s about: access to good food, literature, and art, and the community that gathers around and is nourished by that.” Having the market and the library right next to each other reminds me that those are the kinds of spaces I’m trying to create.
Being a chef, the idea of community is really important to me. Working in food means I get to bring people together. I like practicing hospitality. I like feeding people. Tables of Contents was born of those shared passions, and even though I’m usually way behind on my backlog of books to read, I still like going to the library to walk the stacks to discover new books. It almost feels the same as wandering the farmers market outside. You never know what you’ll come across that might surprise you—or open you up to a new idea—and that opportunity for a little bit of discovery means a lot to me.
The library also gives me the mental space, away from screens or interruptions, to work on new ideas. The Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is a place with character … and filled with characters! I’m someone who gets energy from simply being in the presence of other people, whether we’re interacting or not, so I love sitting in a shared space and just looking around, taking note of little gestures, hearing snippets of conversations. And that’s the beauty of a place like New York—it’s a city filled with these spaces where all sorts of people are there for all different reasons, just existing next to each other, sharing energy and nourishing each other silently.
Starwalker Space Blue Metal Ballpoint
Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date
Montblanc Extreme 3.0 Backpack with M LOCK 4810 Buckle
Tools of Inspiration
Montblanc MTB 03 In-Ear Headphone
Montblanc 142 Bag
Classique Meisterstück Rollerball
Tools of Inspiration
One truly remarkable part of the library is the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive on the third floor. It’s home to thousands of live theatrical performance recordings from the past 50 years. Recordings of a few shows that I’ve done are available to view there. It’s crazy to me that my work coexists with that of some of the greatest New York art-makers in this corner of the library. Theater, as an art, is so ephemeral … even the longest-running Broadway shows eventually end. So to know that these moments in time—that I helped create—will live on is really special to me.
To come to New York and actually make it as a musician in the theater is insanely difficult. I mean, honestly, the industry here is the pinnacle of what musical theater is. You can do great shows in other parts of the country, but the community is not as wholly skilled in the way that they are here in New York. So being here in the city and visiting a place like the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is something I’ll never take for granted. When I’m there, it’s like being in communion with the spirits. Being surrounded by all of this music and artistry, I feel so connected to every performer who's been there before me.
I’ve worked at Lincoln Center twice now and am always seeing shows there—it’s a place that’s been really formative for me as an artist. When I’m there, perhaps in between rehearsals or performances, I love going to the stacks of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, which is housed on the Lincoln Center campus.
This particular library holds a special place in my heart because it feels like the embodiment of the New York theater community. So many things in the city are meant for everyone to enjoy, but this library is a dedicated space just for “us.”
When I’m there, I just wander and let myself discover hidden gems within the stacks. We’re living during a time when so much great art is available at your fingertips on your phone, but I find that can oftentimes cause decision fatigue. There’s a certain sense of inspiration you get from a chance encounter with a piece of art, one you weren’t seeking out but come across as if it was kismet. When I’m in the stacks of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, I let things just catch my eye. It could be a composer’s name or the color of a binding, and suddenly I’m being introduced to a piece I’ve never seen before or even one I’d forgotten about. That kind of experience really recharges my performance ability.
and violist as well as the founder and artistic director of Broadway Strings. Recently, Curry acted as associate conductor of Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of Camelot. The iconic Manhattan performance complex also happens to house one of Curry’s most beloved libraries—the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Will Curry is a Broadway conductor
Good musicianship is all about quality, and I feel at my best using an exceptional pen like the Montblanc Classique Meisterstück rollerball.
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