Thursday Doors – New York Library

Faith in the Library – 2001

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.

89 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – New York Library

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  1. Ooooohhhh possibly my favorite building ever although I have never been. Such grand entryways and marble accents. I love, love libraries. If you ever visit Baton Rouge, you must visit the State Capitol. The architecture within is very similar. And they left the bullet hole in the marble wall from where Huey P long was shot. Thanks for another great doors ursion Dan. i agree about the photo of Faith. It’s a good one!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Cheryl. I remember seeing the inside of the Capitol in a documentary about Huey Long.

      This library is such an interesting building. I was impressed with how quiet it was. It was good to see people still showing respect.

      I have to be careful about using older photos of Faith. There are hair styles that I think she’d rather forget.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is door heaven! They just don’t make buildings like this anymore. My mind boggles at the size of the reading room.

    Don’t ask me to pick a favourite because there are so many, however the spindles in the window of the Rose Room door was quite unusual. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Nice!

    So … was it quiet? I’m guessing they used white noise to dampen echoing and voices from carrying.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Joanne. It was VERY quiet. People spoke in whispers and even the guards were quiet. You needed a permit to access one half of the main reading room. The guard was stopping everyone who tried to enter, but it was a very quiet and respectful exchange. I was impressed.

      I started out with over 30 pictures and I thought: “I can’t include all of these” but it was had to cut some out. They might make their way into a leftover collection.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Any time we’re in grand buildings of that magnitude, there are gobs of doors and windows and other features of interest — many photos are to be expected! Plus, this place has BOOKS! :) These are great. Really love the stairwell shot, with those arches and the lighting. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for understanding. A lot of buildings have mostly the same style door. This place has so many different doors. And yes, it has books – millions of books – I’m glad you liked the stairwell shot. I took a bunch of stairwell photos, but that’s the only one with a door.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a feast! I’m afraid the NYPL will always say “Ghostbusters” to me. But a trip to the actual place would probably break me of that. Thank you so much for a tour of a place I’ve only ever seen from the outside. I’ve only been to NYC a couple of times, and didn’t have time to doorsplore. What a great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve walked past this place and photographed the outside a number of times. I guess this post just re-enforces what I already knew: I HAVE to go inside next time I’m there. The place is wonderful. The architecture, the history, the books, and of course the doors; it has it all.
    Wonderful shots Dan. I do hope the pics that didn’t make the cut in this post end up in a follow up post at some point.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think there will be leftovers, Norm. I want to take the tour, but I can’t do that when I’m in town for business. I had to pry myself out before hitting all the floors I could go to, because I still had a hike to the Javits Center.

      Like

  6. Wow! This is quite something! I love many of the doors (and the decor around the windows on the first photo in your image gallery, but my fave is that balcony in your very first photo – there’s something about balconies that I love. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have not been into the NYPL since 2001. I have been past its exterior a few times since then but not actually gone inside. I should make a point of taking my children to see the interior next time we find ourselves in that area of New York.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow! This was a super duper tour! What an amazing building. Doors are magnificent. Everything is so beautiful and kept so pristine. Hats off to the crew of men and women who oversee the maintenance of this fantastic place. 21 reading rooms…to die for!!

    I’ve never been in or seen the inside of the NYPL, so thank you for the opportunity to follow you around. —-Ginger—-

    Liked by 2 people

      1. No. I didn’t live there. Although I wouldn’t mid giving that a go – for, say, a year or so. But I have visited a few times and each time found myself drawn to that library and Bryant Park. Both spaces have a wonderful urban community feel. I think.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. What an amazing library. I had no idea it was so large, but thinking on it now I realize it makes sense. I’m a sucker for dentil molding, so any of those doors with it above them make me swoon. Great photos.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Loved the filigree and gold panels. I saw this building while in NYC in May, but had so many things to see and do that this was put on this must see list for the next trip to NYC.

    21 specialized rooms! I would be longing for a Mystery, Sci-Fi, Periodicals, and History rooms. Those would be the room I’d be visiting most, but who knows with so many perhaps I’d find a new favorite genre or just a room that I loved. I hope to find out one day!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so behind with reading blogs! #1 Grandson is older and demanding more of my attention, and Baby Girl, and he have moved out! I’ve been helping her move, and get settled which hasn’t been easy. Her place wasn’t ready by move in day so they had her move to a temporary place, and I’ve been spending half the day there where all the good toys are then back home, where I need to get things done are. Just this week she was able to move to the “real” place. So I’ve been helping her with that move. Life the for the next year or so is going to be interesting as I’ll be spending half a day there, and home. A full time job you might say. :) Add to that I want to spend the week-ends out doing photography. Blogging and reading them are paying the price. :( I’m going to be and am behind, but I’ll catch up eventually!

        21 specialty rooms is enough to make any lover of reading drool! I have a feeling you’ll be back to NYC and the Library long before I will. My only wish…PLEASE have a camera with you and a spare battery! :)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That does sound like a complicated schedule. I’m sure #1GS appreciates the time you spend with him.

          This is a busy time of year for me at work. I will certainly go through fall-behind-catch-up cycles. Sometimes I escape into the blog community for a quick break.

          I hope to have enough time in NY to your the Library. I’d love to see some of the foundation features. I’m never without a camera in NY, unless I’m on my way to B&H 😏

          I hope you get out for some photography. Your pictures are one of the breaks I really enjoy. Have s great weekend.

          Like

  11. Wow! You have outdone yourself, Dan. Stunning! When the fire hose is encased in a carved brass door, you know everything else will take your breath away. I have never been to the New York Library, so this was a huge treat for me. Architecture and history at it’s best. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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