New York Public Library

A National Historic Landmark building, the New York Public Library is one of the best examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the United States

Entrance to the New York Public Library
Entrance to the New York Public Library cc licensed photo by thievingjoker

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.

Nearby attractions include Grand Central Terminal, Chrysler Building, Madison Square Garden, Macy's Herald Square and the Empire State Building.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: No

Currently Closed

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 5:45 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:45 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 7:45 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:45 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:45 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:45 PM
  • Sunday: 1:00 – 5:00 PM

Address: 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018, USA

Phone: (917) 275-6975

Official Website: New York Public Library

Map of nearby accommodations:


Subway Line Nearest Station Walking Time
B, D, F or V42nd Street / Bryant Park5 minutes
75th Avenue4 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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Rated 4.7 out of 5New York Public Library - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Star Rating

5 Star Rating Love this branch. Clean bathrooms (can't emphasize this enough- been to enough NYPL libraries to know that this branch has the best one). Great selection of books, friendly and helpful staff, good spots for studying/reading/whatever and many of the users are quiet and respectful of the space. There are a bit of tourist but they're usually pleasant and quiet as well. Love coming here.

tish glos - 2 days ago

5 Star Rating This building—like Grand Central Terminal—is a monument to one of New York's best features: public space as exalted and beautiful as any locked-up, restricted private space. The city doesn't always live up to its best ideals in this regard, but I know of no American city that matches it. The craftsmanship and man-hours that went into this building would normally only be expended in the service of private wealth, and yet access is free and unrestricted to anyone and everyone, local or tourist. Besides which, it's a damn fine reference library, with 2.5 million volumes in the stacks (which are located underneath Bryant Park) and the spectacular Rose Main Reading Room for your use for as long as you like. Whenever I have visitors from out of town, this is a place I make sure to take them, both for their enjoyment and to give me a jolt of gratitude that this place is my hometown library. It's a real public treasure.

Edward Ashton - 3 days ago

5 Star Rating Great place to bring kids. The kids area is awesome. Lots of space, good book selection. On Saturdays they do story time for about a half hour. The librarians are great very willing to help and recommend age appropriate books. Clean area. All ages of kids are welcome.

Jonathan Gough - 6 days ago

5 Star Rating A beautiful library. The rose center is quiet even if there’s people taking pics. If you want to seem smarter take a pic here reading a book. Big library. Not too sure what books they got cause .

Young ko - 10 days ago

5 Star Rating This is not just a library for avid readers! This place is for everyone! The building is beautifully constructed, the architecture and the interior are just beautiful and out of a fairytale (specially during Christmas). The library store had unique products, souvenirs etc. at very reading prices. The library had many halls and the staff is super-helpful. Maps are available to help you locate the halls of your interest. There is a reading/working room where you can just sit and work for as long as you like (and the library is open). The desks are area look as if from Harry Potter’s classroom! The cafe although has very limited eatables but that won’t matter. Plus the library is free to everyone!

Radhika Singh - 29 days ago


Enyoy this great video tour of the impressive New York Public Library

Photo Gallery

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