New York Public Library • Priceless

Welcome to EDITION 712 of  GRAPEVINE

Rose Main Reading Room

Last month, September 11 to be exact, I was in New York. 

My flight that night was past-midnight. As such, I had a lot of time on hand that day.

After visiting a restaurant in Chinatown famous for its dim sums and which had opened in 1920, I walked over to the Jewish Quarter and had the famous beef pastrami at Katz, the city’s most renowned delicatessen. It was a lot of food between a short interval but I had to do it because I was only in New York for two nights.

In the evening, I popped into the New York Public Library, my second visit in two days.

 The New York Public Library guarded by Patience (the other lion, Fortitude, is on holiday).

The world’s third largest library after the British Library, and the world’s largest the US Library of Congress, amazingly, the New York Public Library is a private, non-government, independently managed, non-profit corporation that relies on private and public financing. Before I go any further, allow me to inform that the size of a library is measured by the number of catalogued items in its collection.

New York Public Library has 55 million, the British Library 150 million, and the Library of Congress 164 million.

If, instead, we counted the number of their visitors to determine their size, the New York Public Library will be the largest at an annual average of 18 million, while that of the British Library is just 1.7 million, and the Library of Congress at 1.8 million.

Incidentally, the New York Public Library has 92 branches, the main one being
on Fifth Avenue, the same that is guarded by a pair of lion statues.

Their names are Patience and Fortitude. Once you are in the building, the most famous destination is on the top third floor. This is the breathtaking Rose Main Reading Room.

The basement is also another great place to while away your time. There are all sorts of smaller rooms here including one where you can read newspapers and magazines. The most charming, though, is the children’s library. Here, you can see the very toys that A A Milne gave his son Christopher Robin and which went on to inspire the author to write the Winnie-the-Pooh books. Priceless.

Wishing you A Very Good Weekend.

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