The New York Public Library’s landmark Beaux-Arts Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, with its gleaming white marble facade, picturesque front steps and stone lion sculptures (named Patience and Fortitude), is often called the “main branch.” The library houses extensive research collections, exquisitely detailed reading rooms, immersive exhibits and plenty of children’s volumes, which—unlike much of the holdings—can be checked out. It has made numerous film and television appearances and is directly adjacent to Bryant Park, a green oasis in Midtown’s otherwise urban environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a membership to get in? No. The Schwarzman Building has been free and open to the public since 1911.
Can I take a tour? The library offers self-guided audio tours and hourlong guided tours with docents. Visit nypl.org for details.
Is there anywhere to eat or drink? Yes. Inside the library there’s an Amy’s Bread counter that serves pastries, salads and sandwiches. Attached to the building and in Bryant Park is the Bryant Park Café— a casual sit-down spot—and the Bryant Park Grill, an upscale New American restaurant.