Regardless of the question, answers are sure to lie somewhere within the stacks of the New York Public Library. You’ll find the magnificent structure at 476 5th Avenue, where it watches over Bryant Park with Patience and Fortitude protecting the treasures within. It is where truth lives.

Of all the landmarks in this great center of urban culture, perhaps none is more important than the New York City Public Library. Since its official dedication in May 1911, it has served millions of visitors every year. Some come for answers, some for entertainment, enlightenment or opportunities to interact with others who share a common interest.

And then there are those who simply want to spend some time wandering around the awe-inspiring space, enjoying the sites, sounds, and occasional oddity in the collection that includes more than 50 million items. Here’s are five reasons to visit the New York Public Library on your next trip to the Big Apple:

1) Architecture

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is structurally nothing short of brilliant. For more than a century, it has been the preeminent landmark among many in Midtown Manhattan. It took 16 years to build, and for decades following its construction it was the largest marble building in the United States. Today, it still boasts some of the most beautiful architecture in the city, with the Rose Main Reading Room’s 52-foot walls, grand arched windows, chandeliers, and gilded and painted ceiling. And that’s just one room…

2) Patience and Fortitude 

Before you set foot inside the New York Public Library on your next your New York City visit, you’ll be greeted by Patience and Fortitude, the beloved pair of marble lions that keep watch over Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street outside the Beaux-Arts building. The lions were called the city’s “most lovable public sculpture” by architecture critic Paul Goldberger, and it’s easy to see why. They’ve been decorated in sports regalia, watched over countless celebrations and parades, and appeared in several movies. They are quintessential New York, New York.

3) Oddities

Sometimes the things that tickle and delight are . . . different. If you appreciate occasional oddities, you’ll find them at the New York Public Library. Some of the “secrets of the stacks” include:

…have called the library their home since 1987.

4) Events

You’ll always be able to find something fun to do at the library during your New York City visit. Whether it’s an exhibit, an educational presentation or a reading, the library truly offers something for everyone.

5) Books

What would a list about a library be without mentioning books? There are more than 45 million books in the New York City library system! You would surely need Patience and Fortitude to read every tome.

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