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The New York Public Library

A midtown landmark

The New York Public Library

5th Ave at 42nd St, New York, NY 10018
Mon, Thur-Sat 10:00–18:00
Tue, Wed 10:00–20:00
Sun 13:00–17:00

The New York Public Library was founded at the end of the 19th century by uniting two large city libraries of Astor and Lenox. It took almost ten years to construct the grand building and the library was officially opened in 1911. When you are there, note two lions by the entrance. During the Great Depression, they were called Patience and Fortitude, but before that their names were Leo Astor and Leo Lenox after the founders. Lions are long-time favorites of New Yorkers. There used to be a tradition to decorate them with crowns of flower and even hats, but restoration experts banned it.

The heart of the library is its main reading room – a huge space with high painted ceilings, large arch-shaped windows and solemn chandeliers. Several tiers of open book shelves are placed along the walls. The readers sit at massive tables with copper lamps. You can come early in the morning and not notice when it’s already night.

We would recommend to come here for an hour or two and stroll around the different floors and reading rooms. You can get inspired by interiors and wall paintings and watch some of the exhibits which are held on a regular basis. Enjoy a cup of coffee at the library café and try to reflect on the scale of what you’ve just seen.

Tags: The New York Public Library