Taking a Poe Day

October 25, 2013 — Yesterday, I took a day off from OTIS, a day off from my day job and, well, I took a Poe Day.

I had some loose ends to tie up for the New York section of my upcoming Edgar Allan Poe travelogue, and found myself re-visiting a couple of sites I’ve been to before, as well as seeing some brand new ones. The day was split evenly between the Bronx and Manhattan, as we trekked across a city I’m getting to know a little too well, even if I’m seeing it all through Red Death-tinted glasses.

I reserve the right to re-use that joke in the book.

Anyway, below is some of the stuff I saw.

My first order of business was in the Bronx, at the vault in the special collections library at Fordham University. There, sitting among old volumes and antique ecclesiastical devices was Old Edgar, named for the poet because it was this bell that was ringing at the campus back when Poe used to visit. 

The university has a road named after him, in addition to two different plaques dedicated to him.

After that, we broke south for the Big Borough. Below is where we parked in Manhattan because I'd never heard this version of the Noah story before.

And not only did I take a day off from the site and work. I also took a day off from social media, although I could resist posting the below pic on Twitter and Instagram because, well, I don't think I've ever seen liquid nitrogen leaking from a tank on a street corner before. Could be wrong. I'm getting forgetful in my old age.

From there, we were off to the Morgan Library and Museum to take in its temporary Edgar Allan Poe exhibit. Titled Terror of Soul, it features some amazing artifacts. Most of the pieces are showcased in a single blood-red room, with Poe's face and autograph in large black stencil on the wall. My favorite items by far were: 
  • A letter from Charles Dickens to Poe
  • A letter from Poe to Washington Irving
  • Not just one, but three copies of the rare, rare, rare Tamerlane and Other Poems, Poe's first published collection of poetry.
  • One of three pages that is the only extant manuscript of Poe's last, unfinished work, The Light-House, written in his own hand
  • A small piece of Poe's original coffin. 
The exhibit runs until the end of January.

Sorry I couldn't include pics. Not allowed. I snuck this photo of the entryway.

After that, lunchtime, so we hit up Edgar's on the upper west side. The cafe is named after the poet because it used to be located on the spot of the Brennan farmhouse, where Poe wrote The Raven. However, it's since moved a few blocks away, although it does retains its name and slight theming. A real cozy place

Last on our list was the Hall of Fame of Great Americans. I'd been here before, for The New York Grimpendium, but wanted to show my family the place. It's at Bronx Community College and features the busts of some of the most renowned scientists, statesmen, artists, and authors in our country's history. Poe was an early balloter.

Tomorrow, I'm actually taking another Poe Day, in Baltimore this time. I'll try to do some Facebook updates throughout.