On this day: New York Public Library

See more from my On This Day series here, where I celebrate travel memories on their trip anniversaries.

On December 5, 2017, I was at the New York Public Library in New York City.

New York Public Library is the second largest library system in the United States, behind the Library of Congress, and the third largest in the world. Originally developed in the 19th century as an amalgamation of grass-roots and social libraries of wealthy bibliophiles, it continues to serve as a non-governmental, independently managed, non-profit corporation operating with both private and public financing.

Currently, New York Public Library houses 53 million items and has 92 locations, the most notable of which is the Main Branch adjacent to Bryant Park, Manhattan.

Founded by John Jacob Astor and James Lenox in 1911, the Main Branch was designed by architectural firm Carrère and Hastings in the Beaux-Arts style, showcasing a grand marble staircase at its main Fifth Avenue entrance flanked by two lions named Patience and Fortitude. Inside, the building features a Main Reading Room with 52 foot high ceilings, a Public Catalog Room, various smaller reading rooms, offices, and art exhibitions.

Additional space for the library’s stacks was constructed under Bryant Park in 1991 and the Main Reading Room was restored in 1998. A subsequent major restoration from 2007 to 2011 was underwritten by a $100 million gift from philanthropist Stephen A. Schwarzman, for whom the building has been renamed.

12 responses to “On this day: New York Public Library”

  1. Oh, the fresco in the library looks stunning! The library reminds me of the Powell Library at UCLA (my alma mater), although the one at UCLA isn’t nearly as large or as elegant as NY’s. Love the architecture!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the architecture too. I can’t think of any library quite like this in Toronto.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting to see the inside, I preferred to stay in Bryant Park rather than go in. The depth of the corridor is impressive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there was some kind of event happening in Bryant Park when I passed by and it was very busy. It was nice to escape the crowds with a quick stop inside the library.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I would always take the bus from New Jersey to Port Authority and walk up 42nd street. I’d stop and visit with the pigeons in Bryant Park and say hello to the lions in front of the library. Last time I was there, I bought lunch from a street vendor and sat at one of the tables around the library.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, city pigeons! I’m not a big fan of those creatures 😉


  4. I took a tour through the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library a few years ago and was so impressed at how beautiful the building is and just how many books it has.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s an impressive place!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. its a beautiful building, you see the winnie the pooh display in the kids section?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, missed that part! My walk through was pretty quick, mostly stopped to see that main reading room since it was featured in Ghostbusters 👻

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didnt even think about that when I went in 2017, I remember a tour guide mentioning Winnie the Pooh, so I went in 2018 to see it and that building did not disappoint.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. the NY public library is so iconic isnt it? Wish I’d taken more photos inside and out!

    Liked by 1 person

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