Photo Essay – An afternoon at the New York Public Library

6 Sep

Walking around aimlessly on my first day in New York, I came across a beautifully grand building and two majestic lions zealously guarding its entrance. Intrigued I went up to see what it was and it turned out to be the New York Public Library. I saw numerous people entering it with cameras and generally walked in to see what it was all about. I had earlier loved its exteriors but was majorly surprised by its unexpected stunning interiors. I then spent an entire afternoon walking through its various rooms, checking out it’s amazing collection of books and photographing its various nooks and corners. Sharing the same with you below –

The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library

The Lobby of the New York Public Library

The Lobby of the New York Public Library

In terms of its history in a quick snapshot, in the second half of the 19th century, New York was fast growing to become one of the world’s important centres of urban culture and its citizens felt it should have a world-class library. Prominent among them was one-time governor Samuel J. Tilden, who upon his death bequeathed the bulk of his fortune — about $2.4 million — to “establish and maintain a free library and reading room in the city of New York.” At that time NY had 2 important libraries – the Astor and the Lenox but both had their own set of limitations and were facing financial difficulties. It was several years later that John Bigelow, a New York attorney and Tilden trustee, devised a plan whereby they combined the resources of the Astor and Lenox libraries and the Tilden Trust to form a new entity, known as The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.

A gorgeous door knob

A gorgeous door knob with 2 elaborate serpents

Lamps in the Library

Lamps in the Library

Carvings all over the library

Carvings all over the library

Madison Avenue through a beautiful window

Madison Avenue through a beautiful window

Frescos all over in the library

Frescos all over in the library

My favorite part of the library - books and these chandeliers

My favorite part of the library – books and these chandeliers

A close-up of the carving on the chandelier

A close-up of the carving on the chandelier, notice the small faces?

The beautiful ceiling of the library reading room

The beautiful ceiling of the library reading room

The reading room, New York Public Library

The reading room, New York Public Library

The panels along the walls. Love the cherubs..

The panels along the walls. Love the cherubs..

more cherubs and a demon too :)

more cherubs and a demon too 🙂

The McGraw Rotunda which  has all paintings of the recorded word

The McGraw Rotunda which has all paintings of the recorded word

The Lions at the entrance of the library enjoy their own stardom and are “New York’s most lovable public sculpture”. They have names of their own and in 1930s were named Patience and Fortitude, for the qualities that New Yorker’s would need to survive the economic depression. These names have stood the test of time: Patience still guards the south side of the Library’s steps and Fortitude the north. As a tribute to the Lions’ popularity and all that they stand for, the Library adopted these figures as its official mascots.

The magnificent lion of New York Public Library

The magnificent lion of New York Public Library

Stunning isn’t it? You can read more on the history of the library at its official website NYPL or on Wikipedia.

Tips for the trip –

  1. There are free walking tours of this building, Monday to Saturday at 11.00am and 2.00pm.
  2. There is an interesting gift shop on the ground floor for some unique souvenirs and gifts for family and friends back at home. Check out their books with some unique covers that make beautiful collectables.
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14 Responses to “Photo Essay – An afternoon at the New York Public Library”

  1. Shantaya September 6, 2014 at 22:53 #

    I wrote so many essays in this place. That reading room was my life for four years. I miss it so. Thanks for taking me back!

    Like

  2. Randall A. Golden September 8, 2014 at 05:32 #

    Our family visited here a few years ago. In addition to all that architecture (including the bits I recognized from Ghostbusters!), their children’s section was exhibiting A. A. Milne’s original toys that inspired his Winnie-the-Pooh books. Fantastic place.

    Like

  3. Abhay Singh September 8, 2014 at 12:15 #

    Wow! so beautiful…..thank you for sharing such post….Image selection is so nice…

    Like

  4. Cyrus Janssen September 24, 2014 at 00:05 #

    Fantastic post! Loved the pics, looking forward to visiting one day 🙂

    Like

  5. longlanes November 6, 2014 at 00:57 #

    Love this post! It’s definitely overlooked, for both new yorkers and tourists!

    Like

  6. equinoxio21 November 13, 2014 at 00:53 #

    The NY public library has a special place in my heart. After college, I went to NY for a while to try and get a job. I would get dimes from the bank next door, then go inside the Library, find a convenient phone booth and start calling companies to get an interview. Didn’t get a job, but I spent a wonderful time at the Library! 🙂
    Thanks for the memories.
    Brian

    Like

  7. alina678 November 29, 2014 at 12:00 #

    I am very keen of reading books, I think books could be best partner of a traveler, while i travel for my travel destinations i used to keep relevant travel book from where i could gain more info about this region and could enjoy better. After reading this blog i found really worthwhile info i think i could really found this place according to my interest. I am just asking from my self how could i missed it during my

    Like

    • getsetandgo December 14, 2014 at 15:43 #

      I so agree with you and always have at least 3 books with me whenever I travel 🙂

      Like

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