Lion statue outside the New York Public Library

New York Public Library: Home to Historic Treasures and Classic Architecture

Their names are Patience and Fortitude. Two marble lions sit proudly perched outside Fifth Avenue’s New York Public Library welcoming visitors to this historic landmark. Patience is guarding the South and Fortitude is keeping a watchful eye on the North. They were named by Mayor LaGuardia in the 1930s as words of encouragement to Americans during the economic depression.

New York Public Library is the 3rd largest library in the world. This Beaux Arts structure is a National Historic Landmark with its history dating back over 100 years. Whether you are a book lover, appreciate the detailed architecture or interested in viewing some of the library’s historic treasures, New York Public Library is well worth the addition to your holiday itinerary. Here are five attractions to experience within this historic monument, proving that there is more to check out at the New York Public Library than the latest bestseller.

Rose Main Reading Room

Spanning the length of two city blocks the Rose Main Reading Room is a spectacular display of intricate carvings and elegant decor. The study room’s nearly 16-meter high ceiling displays celestial scenes split into three sections. They invoke a feeling of gazing up into the skies.

In 2014, one of the gilded plaster rosettes came loose and crashed to the floor. Fortunately, no injuries were sustained as the incident occurred during the night. As a result, the grand reading room was closed for the next 2 1/2 years while undergoing a $12 million dollar renovation. The plan included an examination and reinforcement of the 102 rosettes. Now visitors can enjoy the grandeur of the Rose Main Reading Room without the worry of 7 kg plaster rose falling from those celestial skies.

Astor Hall

At the library’s entrance visitors can enjoy the grandeur of Astor Hall. Its grand white marble interior gives guests a sample of what architectural delights await them. Astor Hall is available to book for private parties or events. It’s a magnificent backdrop for any event or special occasion.

Gutenberg Bible

New York Public Library has the esteemed privilege of housing the 1st book printed using mass-produced movable metal type. It was printed in the 1450s and began what is known as the “Gutenberg Revolution” introducing the age of printed books. The Bible contains the Latin version of the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament. Of the 180 original copies, only 49 copies remain in existence.

McGraw Rotunda

Dark walnut panelling and vaulted ceiling adorn this elegant section of the library. Murals dating back to 1937 decorate the walls. The murals are named “The Story of the Recorded Word.” One of the murals depicts Johannes Gutenberg holding a page from his famous bible, appropriately so as McGraw Rotunda is where the Gutenberg Bible is on display.

Winnie the Pooh Display

Young and old alike will enjoy viewing the authentic Winnie the Pooh dolls originally owned by author A.A. Milne’s son Christopher. Visitors can see the actual inspiration for those endearing children’s tales. These cuddly toys are over 100 years old and recently underwent a refurbishment to ensure visitors can enjoy them for many more years to come.

For more unmissable things to do and see, check out our guide to the best New York tours.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.