Free to tour and contrary to the movie The Day After Tomorrow, the New York Public Library is very much still intact and is one of the premier research facilities in the country.
Opened in 1911 on the site of the Croton Reservoir, the landmark building designed by Carrère and Hastings was the largest marble structure in the United States at the time. Created by combing the collections of the failing Astor and Lenox Libraries and the over $2.4 million dollar Tilden Trust, the public reading room and library had over one million volumes when it opened. Today it services almost 2 million library card holders.
A National Historic Landmark building, the New York Public Library is one of the best examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the United States. Entering through Astor Hall, welcomed by vaulted marble ceilings three feet thick and a grand double staircase, you can join a free docent-led tour of the building or exhibitions. The famous Rose Main Reading Room is a majestic space filled with natural light from massive arch windows and lined with thousands of reference works under beautiful panel ceilings and chandeliers. In the Bill Blass room, one of the few remaining copies of the Gutenberg Bible is on display.
Most of the books in the library are stored on an incredible 75 miles of steel shelving located below the massive reading room. These metal shelving units double as supports for the floor of the reading room above.
Check out the 'Photos and Video' tab above to view a great video highlighting some of the impressive features of this amazing building which is well worth taking time to visit.
Facts For Your Visit
Official Website: New York Public LibraryFee: No
Hours may be subject to change. Please verify on the official website, especially where Covid restrictions are in effect.
- Monday: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
- Tuesday: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
- Wednesday: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
- Thursday: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
- Friday: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
- Saturday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Sunday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
455 Fifth Ave
New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 340-0863
Sarah G. Oct-11-2021
I always go into the Public Library on fifth when I go to NYC. It always has something cool and a good gift shop too. I recently viewed the Treasures... Read More
Hunter S. Aug-07-2021
I've gotten used to not sharing NYC with tourists. The tourists are back. The library is beautiful, and you can visit without a library card. The main... Read More
Theresa C. Apr-29-2021
The Main Branch of the NY public library is an impressive building. Built in the early 1900s on the foundation of the old Croton Reservoir, it is an iconic... Read More
Accommodations near New York Public Library:
|Subway Line||Nearest Station||Walking Time|
|B, D, F or V||42nd Street / Bryant Park||5 minutes|
|7||5th Avenue||4 minutes|
How to get to New York Public Library by Subway
Take the B, D, F or V train to 42nd Street / Bryant Park, head southwest on 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas), turn left on 40th Street or take the 7 train to 5th Avenue, head southeast, turn right on 5th Avenue, turn right on 40th Street.
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