Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Trip to the Library

I recently went one Sunday afternoon up to the New York Public Library at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue to do some writing.
And don't say to me, "That's where Carrie was going to get married!"
There was a long history to the library before the Sex and the City movie.

The library is one of my favorite buildings in New York. While so many things in New York seem to be changing, the library remains the same. The building was constructed on the site of the old Croton Reservoir. It took sixteen years to build and was dedicated on May 23, 1911 by President William Howard Taft.

Architects John Merven Carrere and Thomas Hastings designed the building in the Beaux Arts style, and fashioned everything including its tables, chairs, lamps and chandeliers, and even the hardware and waste baskets.

Its spaces and the details are still beautiful, and as you walk along its quiet, polished, empty halls you feel like you are going back in time.

The library houses the Humanities and Social Science collections, so it is a research library, not a lending library. The most spectacular part of the building is the Rose Main Reading Room which was completely renovated and restored in 1988, due to the generous support of the Rose family.

With a north wing and a south wing, the reading room is almost as big as a football field; it is one of the largest rooms in the country without a dome, interior columns, or steel-inforced walls to support the ceiling. Natural light flows through big arched windows.

I just love its metal lamps, and oak tables and chairs. I think that's why I went to law school for a year before leaving – to sit in a library like this!

This is the north wing. Simply plug in your laptop and you're off.

Library services are offered in the center of the room.

When you look up you seem to be peering into the sky. The writer's imagination can fly freely.

This is truly one of the most beautiful rooms in New York. Thanks to its many creators and renovators, it's a very pleasant place to be on a cold and grey Sunday afternoon.


The Cool Cookie said...

It is an amazing building. Built to inspire. Unfortunatly, now buildings are built to impress.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I love the space of the NYPL. If you ever have the chance, you should also check out the Boston Public Library Reading Room. Very similar and the joy is in the details.

AlwaysMe said...

Thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures. Hope you get your camera back soon (and fixed gratis)

Cat Sitter in the City said...

I'd much rather sit and write in this beautiful library than a Starbucks. :)