Why the New York Public Library Should Be On Your NYC Bucket List

It's iconic for good reason.

New York Public Library, photo by Max Touhey Photography

Majestic, massive and right in the heart of Manhattan, the historic New York Public Library, a pile of blazing white marble on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, has served as one of the city’s most venerable institutions for more than a century.

Officially known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, but also as the Main Branch, this character-rich edifice opened in 1911 and continues to serve as the flagship for the New York Public Library network with more than 50 million items spread among 90-plus branches.

The building’s Rose Main Reading Room—with its ornate, Beaux-Arts ceiling featuring cherubs, plaster rosettes and celestial murals—reopened three years ago after a US$12-million restoration. A further renovation is currently transforming 10 separate rooms into a more versatile study and seminar space.

Across the street, the Mid-Manhattan Library is undergoing another project with the addition of up to 35 per cent more public space, including a rooftop terrace.


3 More Libraries to Visit in the United States

Geisel Library, SanDiego, photo by Erik Jepsen

Geisel Library, San Diego

Looking a little like a UFO, this library features a collection of original drawings and manuscripts from its namesake, Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss.


John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Set in a picturesque, seaside location, this 164,000-square-foot tribute to America’s 35th president includes a recreation of the Oval Office and a collection of moon rocks.


Richard J. Riordan Central Library, Los Angeles

This eight-floor landmark in downtown Los Angeles has a puppet theatre and a performing arts space and is truly a community gathering place.


Read more: Discover stunning libraries in Calgary and Dublin

[This story appears in the February 2019 issues of  WestJet Magazine]