The New York Public Library is one of the most beloved buildings in New York City. It houses a collection of over 50 million titles and has its own police force. It’s where inventors researched the Xerox machine and the atomic bomb. Find out if you should visit, when to go, how to get there, some helpful tips to know while visiting, and why you might skip this attraction.
Why You Should Visit the New York Public Library
Iconic: The New York Public Library has been featured in so many movies and TV shows, it’s probably one of the most recognized structures in the city.
Cinematic: The NYPL has been featured in Sex and the City, Glee, Spider-Man, and 13 Going on 30. Check out a more comprehensive list.
Historic: Founded in 1895, the New York Public Library was the first free library opened to the public in New York City. You can check out a full history of the library on the second floor balcony.
Architectural: Built by Carrere and Hastings, the New York Public Library is one of the finest examples of Beaux Arts architecture in NYC.
Kid Friendly: Kids love the exhibits, the giant Christmas tree, the children’s section, and visiting the original Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals.
Artsy: The library is home to several WPA murals by Edward Laning that depict the history of the written word. There are also two lion statues outside, Patience and Fortitude, sculpted by Edward Clark Potter.
Like a Local: It’s no secret that locals love visiting the NYPL, so you’ll bump into plenty students, writers, and families here.
Literary: Every book lover’s dream, the New York Public Library is where many famous authors write.
Cost to Visit the New York Public Library/Money Savers:
The library is free to visit!
How Much Time to Spend at the New York Public Library?/Time Savers:
Take a tour of the library with a librarian to find out more about the fourth largest library in the world!
Fly-By: 15 minutes to take a few photos outside and see the lobby.
In-Depth: 45 minutes to visit exhibits, the reading rooms upstairs, the gift shop, and the original Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals in the children’s section.
Need to Know:
- You might the New York Public Library is devoid of…well, books! That’s because this branch is a research library. If you want to take out a book, you’ll need to look it up online and put in a request. Your book will magically appear at the librarian’s desk in a few minutes. To check out the public stacks, head to the building across the street.
- Though many tourists visit the library every day, the library is still a library. Be sure to be quiet in certain areas.
Why You Should Skip:
If you skip the New York Public library, you might have a cold, dark heart that hates literature. Just kidding! You should definitely go, but I can’t think of one good reason why you shouldn’t.
When to Go to the New York Public Library:
- Anytime is a good time to go to the library. Check out their hours on their website.
- During December, the building is all decked out for the holidays!
How to Get to the New York Public Library:
Walking: Walk to E. 42nd and 5th Avenue.
Subway: You can get to the NYPL Stephen Schwarzman building by taking the B, D, F, M, or 7 trains trains to 42nd Street/Bryant Park. You could also take any train that goes to Times Square and walk a few blocks, but you’ll end up fighting with a lot of foot traffic!
Taxi/Car: Hop in a taxi or car, and tell them to take you to the library on W. 42nd and 5th Avenue. Most cab and car drivers will know how to get you there.
Bus: If you don’t mind sitting in a little traffic, take the M1, M2, M3, M4, or M42 bus to 42nd Street.
Related Attractions/Other Ways to See:
Other Branches: The New York Public Library has branches all over the city. You can visit any of them while they’re open, read a book or magazine, or use the bathroom.
Schomburg Center: The library also maintains and operates the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. They have programs, exhibits, and reading materials regarding black culture. I definitely recommend visiting if you’re heading up to Harlem!
Brooklyn Public Library: If you’re heading to Brooklyn, visit the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. the building is almost as impressive as the one in New York!
Need more inspiration on how to focus only on what you love in NYC? Check out a full list of attractions.
Don’t forget to read a few articles on how to hack New York City, so you can see more, do more, and stress less!