On a recent trip to New York City, I left my hotel with more than enough time to walk to the Javits Center. Of course, my plan was to turn the utilitarian walk to a conference into a mini-doorscursion. Since I’ve walked from this hotel to that venue at least twice in recent years, I was trying to take a different route. I headed west, and I soon found myself on 5th Avenue staring at the New York Public Library’s main branch. I had plenty of time, so I decided to go inside.
As a result, I have a post dedicated to a single magnificent building that many people might only recognize from the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” and the many other movies and TV shows in which the library has appeared.
Rather than risk making a poor attempt at summarizing everything that has been written about this building, or copying what currently stands in Wikipedia, I offer two snippets from the National Registry of Historic Places nomination form:
“The New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, is one of the Nation’s major libraries. Its extensive and invaluable manuscript and rare book collections, plus some 7 million volumes for general use, make it an almost unrivaled center of study and research in the United States.
The core of the building is formed by the stacks, which occupy the central rear of the building from the cellar to the second floor, in seven levels. Above the stacks area, on the third floor, is the main reading room which is entered through a wood-paneled hallway. The room, which contains sufficient table space to accommodate 800 people, is divided into symmetrical halves by the central delivery and return desk. The walls are lined with open shelves of reference works. The ceiling is 50 feet high and still contains vacant areas for murals which were never painted for monetary reasons. The library contains twenty-one specialized reading rooms which supplement the main room. Most noteworthy of these is the ground floor reading room which has perhaps the only cast iron ceiling in a public building in the city.”
The featured photo isn’t a door, it’s a balcony, but I’ve always liked this picture of Faith from a NYC visit in 2001.
Thursday Doors is a self-guided research program into doors from around the world, and is sponsored by the Bibliothèque des portes (Library of Doors) in Montreal, Canada. Head Librarian, Norm Frampton maintains the stacks in a Linky List and always has room for new arrivals to be put on display in the main reading room. When you arrive at the entrance, check out Norm’s personal selection of the week, then look for the blue frog. Click that little tadpole to gain access to the Reading Room. To help avoid any future 2¢ fines, feel free to click on any of the ads on your way in.
From reading many of your blogs, I have a sense that some of you are still thinking “21 specialized reading rooms…” and maybe drooling a little bit. I hope you have a special place to read. I will say that the rooms I visited were amazingly quiet, and I was far from being the only person taking pictures that day.
There are a few more than the usual number of doors today. I apologize, but this set was as far as I could trim back. You can click on any one and start a slide show.