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

Open Now

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


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 Not sure what the hype is about with this library, but there are only a couple of things to see here: 1) the giant lion statues outside the front entrance, and 2) the main reading room with a high ceiling. Otherwise, it's just a library that is slightly annoying to enter as you have to pass through an airport-styled security checkpoint. After attending numerous college/universities, this place is just another library that is smaller than most major university's library but slightly bigger than your typical local library. I do recommend visiting the area just outside the library, known as Bryant Park.

John Hsieh - 27 days ago

5 Star Rating Obviously a landmark and must visit place in New York. Don’t miss the guided tour at every hour to learn more insight about his place. Top of the floor is a good place for a grand book photo. Try not to disturb the keen readers 🤫

Ianmanan2011 - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating A great public space in the heart of Manhattan and Lincoln Center as well as 2 other boroughs. You can see free movies and music at the Lincoln Center library as well as sheet music and much more. I am currently taking some free classes to write a family history. A great resource for genealogical studies. They have a great army of library specialists including a wonderful staff in the children’s library where they have daily activities for infants and older children and literacy programs. They also offer English programming for those who are new to the US. The main chapter also has a book club and you can download books to your Kindle or other devices. One of the best public spaces in the US. A treasure.

Cheryl Ostrow - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating The New York public library has several branches all over the city, but this is their main big one. It has a great entrance which shows it's history. Inside it is a maze of several parts, but with many history in the building, and it's books. There are several study areas as well several areas where you can request specific history writings. As a visitor, you have to go upstairs, where some huge wall paintings are, and make this branch a very unique in its kind.

Iwan Gerbes - 2 months ago

5 Star Rating I had a fantastic time at this library. I was very impressed by its size and the quantity and quality of its holdings. If I knew about this library when I was doing my doctoral program, I would have gone there to conduct some research. I loved the artwork in the roof at various places. The "Revolution" display from the 1960s was exhilarating. I would love to visit this library again. I recommend it to anyone who is serious about research and learning about history.

Dr. Earlmont Williams - 2 months ago


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

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