Gift or Graffiti?

No doubt people like naming things. Expecting parents stereotypically spend a good quantity of time finding a name for their child, companies spend millions to find a name that will make them millions more while the upper class enjoy naming lots of spaces and objects after themselves.

“You enter through the Arlene and Robert Kogod Lobby. From there you may choose to ascend to the orchestra level by taking either the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Grand Staircase West or the Philip L. Graham Fund Grand Staircase East. (One wonders: Do the friends of the Cafritz family feel disloyal if they enter on the east side, running late, and choose to head up Phil’s stairs?)

Should you arrive with time for a drink before the curtain, you can linger near the James and Esthy Adler Orchestra Terrace West, or the less personal-sounding American Airlines Orchestra Terrace East. And don’t forget to check your bulky outerwear at the Cassidy & Associates Coat Room, before entering the Landon and Carol Butler Theater Stage to watch the performance.

Two long lists of names of benefactors also cascade down the front of the terra-cotta-colored facade. More are etched into the glass balustrades on the upper level.

Indeed, from top to bottom the new theater is all but covered in this graffiti of the philanthropic class. Attending a performance can be like leafing through somebody else’s high school yearbook. Who are all these people? Should I know? Should I care? How much would I have to give to get my name on, say, a drinking fountain? And would a urinal be cheaper?”

Read the rest of this article on the “Graffiti of the Philanthropic Class” by Charles Isherwood at the New York Times. Also read a little about the Stephen A. Schwarzman Library (formerly known as THE New York Public Library).


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