New York’s Fourteenth Literary Landmark Dedicated
The Empire State Center for the Book ended 2014 with the dedication of its third Literary Landmark for the year. On December 7, before a crowd of hundreds, the Carl Schurz Park on New York City’s upper eastside was made a Literary Landmark for the role it plays in Louise Fitzhugh’s children’s classic Harriet the Spy (Random House, 1964). The event helped mark the close of the fiftieth anniversary of the book’s publication.
Part of the inscription on the plaque reads, “Author, Louise Fitzhugh (1928-1974) used this park and other familiar neighborhood sites in her novel. In this park, Harriet follows Ole Golly on her date with Mr. Waldenstein, gathers a frog to put in Marion Hawthorne's desk at school and memorably, plays a game of tag with the kids in her class. But most importantly, Harriet took her notebook over to the park and sat on a bench. She found that she enjoyed writing under the trees.”
The event coincided with the park’s annual holiday tree lighting. Among those gathered were Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York State Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, State Senator Liz Kruger and New York City Councilman Ben Kallos. The Councilman was so impressed by the event that he invited the Empire State Center for the Book to work with his office in identifying other literary landmarks in his district (District 5) that he can help sponsor.
Random House Children’s Books was a sponsor of the event. Beverly Horowitz, editor at Delacorte Press shared the anniversary edition of the book that includes essays from Rebecca Stead, Jonathan Franzen, Gregory Maguire, and several others who were influence by Harriet the Spy.
The Literary Landmark program is a project of ALA’s United for Libraries. The two other landmarks that the Center for the Book sponsored in 2014 were Walt Whitman’s Birthplace (Huntington, NY) and the Yorkville Community School on East 88th Street (NYC) in honor of the children’s storybook character Lyle, the Crocodile.
Three landmarks are already in the works for 2015. The first is the George Bruce Branch of the New York Public Library in honor of the author Walter Dean Myers. The dedication is tentatively schedule for Monday, May 4, the first day of Children’s Book Week.
The other two that will be co-sponsored later in the year with the Friends of Libraries Section are the Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage in Saranac Lake and the Wilder Homestead, Boyhood Home of Almanzo Wilder, in Malone.