The New York Public Library's iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building has stood proudly along 5th Ave. since 1911. Housing 75 miles of shelves, the building houses the NYPL's humanities and social sciences research collection, as well as a circulating children’s collection. Behind this iconic building is one of the city's best revitalized green spaces: Bryant Park.
A visit to the library and the park is a highlight to Midtown Manhattan a step away from the usual hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps.
Tip: Check the website before you visit - the building is closed semi-regularly for special events.
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Old-World Literary Gem
The flagship branch of the New York Public Library is one of the gems of New York City architecture. Located next to Bryant Park at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, the Beaux Art building opened in 1911 and was the largest marble structure of its kind. Each year, over 16 million scholars, researchers, writers, readers and tourists visit the library, which is currently finalizing plans for a $300 million renovation.
The Rose Main Reading Room is worth a trip to midtown Manhattan. Two blocks long, it features 52-foot high ceilings, Old World murals, burnished bronze lamps and - now for modern times - free Internet through the Library's Wi-Fi. Sit here for an hour or two and get lost in a book (maybe Edith Wharton to get in the mood of turn-of-the-century New York). Treat yourself to a dose of tranquility amidst the chaos of midtown!
Free one-hour building tours take visitors through the history and architecture of the Library and its vast collection.
The New York Public Library is an oasis in the city where visitors can collect themselves in peace and quiet. The Rose Main Reading Room and Map Room are my two favorite rooms in the library – both have certain grandeur and specialness. I love to share it as a recommendation because traveling in the city can be hard on people, and the library is a special place to experience.
One thing many people don’t know is that the marble lions that stand outside of the library have names – Patience and Fortitude – representing the spirit of the collection.
For one night each year, the main branch of the New York Public Library -- the iconic neoclassical building on Fifth Ave. and 42nd St. -- becomes one massive bar. Welcome to the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, a bibulous four-day event that is kicked off by a gala at the library. This year over 3,000 thirsty attendees turned up to sip every kind of cocktail imaginable.
Visiting the library is one of the best free things to do in the city. Various works of art line the halls and the ceiling of the reading room is beautiful. Also, Celebrating 100 Years is a fantastic exhibition on display until March 4, 2012. Everything from cuneiform tablets to Bob Dylan's handwritten lyrics are on display. Did I mention it's FREE!!
Sure, there are a million places in Manhattan with free wifi. But I don't think there's anywhere more elegant to check your email than the library, under its gilded, Beaux Arts ceilings. If you want to spend some serious time online but you'd rather not slurp down a succession of lattes, head for the Rose Reading Room. Best part? You don't have to listen to mindless coffee shop chatter...
NYC's Booziest Gala: The Manhattan Cocktail Classic
Every May, America's best bartenders convene in Manhattan to learn, network and party, of course.
For its annual gala, the iconic New York Public Library is transformed into a speakeasy, featuring reps from some of alcohol's best brands. On four floors, over 25,000 drinks are served while a brass band plays on the main floor. Really inventive snacks are served as well including boozy popsicles.
For four days, thereafter, seminars and parties take place mainly at the Andaz Hotel and at some of the best bars in Manhattan.
The gala was one of the best parties I have ever attended (and if you can afford the earlybird $200 price tag, it's certainly worth it) and a chance to get all dressed up with somewhere to go!