The late William S. (Bill) Dalzell was a very important and valued friend to me, beginning in my twenties when I first came to New York.
We worked at the same place, 218 East 18th Street — technically not for the same employer, since Bill was a self-employed printer.
We hit it off immediately. Bill (as I turned out to be) was a lover of his adopted city. He grew up in Williamsburg, a suburb of Pittsburgh.
He had many pregnant thoughts. We had such interesting conversations.
He was a confirmed bachelor and a creature of habit.
He never worked on weekends.
On Saturday mornings, he would go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He would begin in the cafeteria, nursing a cup of coffee and lost in thought.
He said that for him the museum was like a cathedral. It had that effect on him mentally. Either explicitly or implicitly, he was also thinking of Norte Dame Cathedral. He had been there several times and said it was “the holiest place” he had ever visited.
Which brings to mind the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue.
It has that effect on me. The beautiful building. The interior. The high ceilings and sunlight streaming through. The staff. The “serious,” “dedicated” sense of purpose and calm quietness. The calming and focusing effect it has on me mentally.