New York, Baby! Pt.3: The New York Public Library

Front Entrance of the New York Public Library Schwarzman Building between 40 and 42nd St and 5th Avenue

When most people thing of the top tourist spots of New York, they are immediately consumed with images of the Empire State Building, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal and the like. Having a solid three weeks to reflect upon my personal touristic highlights of Manhattan, one particular experience rises above the rest. In the waning hours of my first expedition to the Big Apple, my wife and I paid a visit to an awesome place of learning known as the New York Public Library.

One of two lions guarding the front steps and entrance

What an unbelievable structure! When facing the entrance from the 5th Avenue sidewalk, one instantly notices two larger than life lions guarding both sides of the front steps. The massive building is done in a classical style, resembling a great structure from Ancient Greece or Rome. There were also absolutely ornate ceilings through out the library and rooms decked out with all types of canvas paintings, mostly old portraits by American standards by even a few artists I had heard of before. The library also showcased an original Gutenberg Bible, considered to be the oldest one known of in the New World. Despite being an older structure, the library was light an airy, providing a welcome reprieve from the humid August heat on the busy streets outside.

Main Hall of the library

If the library itself wasn’t enough to impress, a really cool free exhibit lay in wait on the main floor directly past the front entrance. The exhibit, called Lunch Hour, was a tribute to the history of lunch in New York City. It had relics and photos demonstrating street foods such as hot dogs and pretzels, the influence and spread of ethnic foods across the metro, and even the first type of “vending machine” dining that New Yorkers utilized for a quick meal on their lunch breaks. You may not think that a subject like lunch could captivate your interest, but my wife and I spent a good hour or so walking through the exhibit while learning a lot and being thoroughly entertained.

Ethnic Foods become more wide spread for lunch

The vending machine New Yorkers used in the 1st half of the 20th century

This last installment concludes my posts about my initial visit to New York. I must say going there I didn’t know what to expect but upon leaving I couldn’t help but wondering when I would return again. There is so much left to see and experience in the Big Apple. The next time I hope to get farther into Brooklyn as we only made it as far as Dumbo. So I would like to begin gathering ideas about what to do and see for my next visit there. What places or experiences are the most memorable for you regarding your travels to New York? Stay tuned for my next investigation into the Rocky Mountains once more for a little Labor Day Weekend R&R to a town that shall be revealed later.

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