New York Public Library

New York Public Library (71)

Flanking the stairway, patience and fortitude are the two famous marble lions that welcome you with great dignity and pride to the grand and imposing headquarters of the New York Public Library. Other older names that are known these statues are Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, in honour of the founders of the library, John Jacob Astor and John Lenox. These cats are so beloved by New Yorkers they have been declared "The most adorable sculptures in the city" and indeed, the New York Public Library logo is a lion. Sound familiar? That may be because it has appeared in countless films, from Ghostbusters through to Spiderman. The interior has also been the scene for a lot of movies; it was the site chosen by Carrie of Sex and The City to get married in; and a shelter from the tidal wave in The Day After Tomorrow, among others.

The lions are the work of sculptor Edward C. Potter; they are flanked by two small fountains called Truth and Beauty. They are a reminder that the Croton Reservoir was located here from 1848 to 1899, which served as a water reservoir to the city during the 19th century.

The New York Public Library is an institution of renowned prestige around the world, for its constant research work as well as for belonging to the vast library system closely integrated with other libraries in the United States. In its more than 200 different branches there are buildings dedicated exclusively to research and consultation spaces reserved for the blind. It is a real luxury to be immersed among its more than 50 million documents, including books, videos, maps, manuscripts, photographs, etc., of which more than 20 million are books. A comprehensive collection that is only surpassed by the Library of Congress in Washington and the British Library in London.

The building in front of you is testament to the height of beaux-art style, typical of the late 19th to the 20th century. It was built by Carrère and Hastings, who designed the Frick Collection building and opened to the public in 1911.

Once inside, you will see the majestic Astor Hall, flanked by stairs from where the guided tours begin. 

Red marble, coffered ceilings, carved wood, paintings and murals... Soon you will discover that knowing how to choose a good book and reading it in the tranquillity of one of its rooms is a real pleasure. And if you do so on the third floor, the vast Rose Main Reading Room is a unique pleasure. More than 100 metres long, 25 metres wide and 15 metres high, it is one of the largest reading rooms in the world and obviously the ideal set for series and movies. This room was renovated late last century but retains its chandeliers, oak tables and reading lamps. And now look up and be amazed by the Edward Laning murals inspired by the works of Tiepolo and Tintoretto. You will feel like you are in a film. The hall seats about 700 readers.

There are several rooms in the New York Public Library dedicated to exhibitions, and among its works you can find rarities such as menus from over 100 years ago, the private library of the famous escape artist Harry Houdini and even the desk where Charles Dickens wrote. 

In the De Witt Wallace Periodical Room you can read newspapers from around the world.

If you do not have time to read a book, at least take your time to admire this magnificent building. Surely you will notice something that has appeared in the multitude of films made here.

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