I have alway found libraries to be magical places. A literary treasure trove, if you will. No matter what you are looking for, you are bound to find that book, plus a few more, to engage your creative or academic self. I have also found that getting a library card when you first move to a new city gives you a sense of community and belonging. So, while I was quick to establish my local library branch weeks ago, I had yet to make it to the famous Main Branch of the New York Public Library.
So yesterday, I decided to correct this and headed to 42nd Street and 5th Avenue to finally pay my respects. The Main Branch is probably best recognized for the two giant marble lions that guard the entrance to the library. However, you will likely feel a sense of déjà vu as you wander around, considering the number of movies that have been filmed there – Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sex and the City and, of course, Ghostbusters. The library website helpfully provides an up-to-date list, which can be found here.
The Main Library – with or without the movie glamour – really is a great place to visit and I recommend stopping in while you are in town. Near Time Square and right next to Bryant Park, it’s easy to get to and is just lovely. The famous reading rooms are lined with rows upon rows of books and the massive windows provide plenty of light. It is primarily a research library, so many books are only for in-house use. However, if you have a library card you can check out just about anything you want, even if you can’t take it with you.
See You in the City!
Patience and Fortitude are the names of the majestic lions that guard the library’s entrance. Per the library’s website, “During the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia named them Patience and Fortitude, for the qualities he felt New Yorkers would need to survive the economic depression.”
The Rose Main Reading Room is 78 feet wide and 297 feet long, with 52-foot (15.8 m) high ceilings. It’s gorgeous and makes you feel very scholarly, even if you do use your time here to look at Facebook and type out a blog about candy like I did.