Libraries: New York Public Library

Category : library

The original plan was to discuss a bookstore today. But since it’s National Library Week, I couldn’t resist gushing over the New York Public Library. Stereotypical, yes, but it’s a formidable presence.


(And I’m breaking out pictures I took, oh, six years ago. Hello, amateur photography!)

This building in particular is the main branch of the NYPL—the Stephan A. Schwarzman Building—and one of countless branches around New York. It’s a must-stop location for both locals and tourists. The building has a great history, down to the intricate details of its construction. It’s said that they refused any marble slab that wasn’t absolutely perfect, and the rejects were used elsewhere—like the Harvard Medical School. (More fun facts are here.)

The exterior is certainly impressive, but I find more beauty indoors.


Main entrance from the interior balcony.


I got a little artistic here.

The building conducts free tours twice a day during the week (11:00 and 2:00, if I recall correctly). I took advantage of this several times in grad school. They take you around, sharing both history and beautiful architecture. Upstairs, across from the reading room, they have a Gutenberg Bible on display. Needless to say, photography is not permitted. But you can gawk all you want.

So if you happen to find yourself in the area of Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street, I highly suggest stopping by. They have a little café and gift shop as well to fulfill your touristy needs. Even if someone in your party doesn’t care for the library bit (bah on them, I say), the architecture alone is worth the trip.