February 19, 2013

The Jaw-dropping Beauty of the New York Public Library

The main branch of the New York Public Library system, in Midtown Manhattan.

I was actually on my way to see Grand Central Terminal, but the white marble expanse caught my eye and I was too enthralled not to go in. Considering that the library is only a few minutes' walk from the station (and the Chrysler Building visible from it), it seems like an overwhelming wealth of beauty.

Moldings on the door.

Construction on this building took place a little over 100 years ago, and the exterior is noted for looking virtually unchanged since then. (The New York Public Library has been immortalized in so many films over the years, all you have to do is watch them for proof. The 2008 Sex and the City film even has an almost-wedding scene filmed inside the building.)

So much beauty and I haven't even stepped inside at this point.

The entrance/exit. Security was remarkably relaxed, with visitors merely asked to show if they had borrowed a book or not.

People are free to enter the library, and photographs are allowed so long as flash isn't used. All of the tourists around me were uncharacteristically quiet when they entered the lobby, as if they had been awed into silence.

Up the stairs to the second floor reading room.

A different set of stairs leading back to the lobby.

A super-dapper boy sitting on a bench at the foot of the stairs, looking like he'd stepped off a period movie set.

The hallway of the third floor, leading to the Public Catalog Room.

The Main Reading Room, which, like the rest of the library, is beautiful to the point of distraction. How does anyone get anything done here?

A chandelier in the Main Reading Room.

The next time I visit, it could look greatly changed: a 300 million dollar plan is in place to renovate the interior of the building. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

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