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Most Gorgeous Libraries in NYC

couple reading a book in a library

Manhattan holds some of the world’s most impressive, beautiful buildings ever constructed. For proof, look no further than the city’s gorgeous libraries. There are over 200 of these decadent buildings in an around the various New York apartments for rent, but which of them are considered the best lookers on the island? As it turns out, these ten jaw-droppers reign supreme.

1. New York Public Library

Iconic, decadent, and over a century old, the New York Public Library stands as one of the most gorgeous public spaces in all of Manhattan. Guarded by Patience and Fortitude (the two Tennessee-marble lions), New Yorkers can find a cavernous hall decorated with crystal chandeliers and stunning murals that spans nearly 300 feet.

You can come enjoy the free space in your spare time with thousands of timeless literary works, or take a free guided tour from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those looking to bury their heads in a book can take advantage of the Rose Main Reading Room, while those looking for a quiet space to work online can utilize the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room’s free Wi-Fi.

2. The Morgan Library and Museum

John Pierpont Morgan, better known to the world as J.P. Morgan, constructed this architectural beauty as his private library. He donated the library to the city in 1910, providing Manhattan with timeless works ranging from a copy of Frankenstein annotated by Mary Shelley to Beethoven’s handwritten sheet music.

The collection is impressive, but a renovation and expansion of this space in 2006 made these timeless walls more accessible to the public. Famed Renzo Piano created pathways that allow for more natural lighting and doubled the size of this library’s exhibition space. Now, you can find countless classic artworks and ancient works of literature on display alongside regular concerts in the Gilder Lehrman Hall.

3. The Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library

The New York Public Library association runs all of the libraries on Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Architecturally, the Medieval/Victorian appeal of the Jefferson Market Branch is one of the most stunning. From its enormous clock tower to the stonework finishes, what’s not to love?

Stained glass windows shine over top of carved doorways. The public garden is as tranquil as the mural-sized artwork displayed within. While this building use to function as a courthouse, it now offers dozens of educational services to the community.

4. New York Society Library

Located in the coveted Upper East Side, this Italianate townhouse first opened its doors in 1754 as the city’s one and only book lender at the time. Over two centuries later, residents continue to check out over 300,000 volumes as they read in the tranquility of its public space.

While the New York Society Library is open to the public, you need a membership to check out books. What you don’t need a membership for are the countless exhibits and public events offered by the society.

5. The Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library

Designed to resemble an open book, this 1941 Art Deco marvel is Brooklyn’s largest and most popular. Its golden charachter lining the entryway come to life amidst their stone background, while two looming owls perch above a grand doorway containing more gold figures.

Inside you’ll find tranquil gardens amidst an outdoor space for live concerts, the Grand Army Plaza, and a newly renovated plaza with free Wi-Fi. There are over one hundred events each month taking place within these walls, many of which provide an educational opportunity for the youth of the city.

6. New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Housed within the Lincoln Center complex, this work of modern Architecture houses the Billy Rose Theatre Collection (one of the world’s largest on performing arts). Most come here for the frequent exhibitions, events, and lectures. Whether you’re into the performing arts or not, stopping by to marvel at the modern design is worth the visit.

7. Poets House

With views of the Hudson River and Rockefeller park, this is where New York’s poets come to find inspiration and lose themselves in over 70,000 volumes from history’s greatest authors. Unique furnishings ranging from a canoe-shaped bookcase to antique school desks decorate the interior, while accents like manual typewriters help foster inspiration.

The inviting space is an excellent place for the budding poet, and the library offers dozens of programs for children and teens. Aspiring authors find themselves penning works amidst eclectic décor like wooden eggs, shark teeth, and pressed leaves tied into the card catalog. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in poetry.

8. The Pacific Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library

Saved from demolition in 2013, this century-old structure boasts a beaux arts architecture and hold the title of first Carnegie library in Brooklyn. Originally opened in 1904, you can find hundred of works amassed within its walls. If you’re in the area, it’s worth the stop.

9. The Yorkville Branch of the New York Public Library

This is the Upper East Side’s historical landmark. Registered with the National and State Registers of Historic Places, the Palladian building stands as a James Brown Lord design from 1902. Soaring arched windows and iconic columns created from limestone make this a neighborhood treasure. Plus, the ample amount of community offerings enriches the area through cultural projects and workshops.

10. Butler Library

Located in Columbia University’s Morningside campus, the grand pillars of this library hold the names of history’s greatest carved in stone. Its labyrinthian shelves hold over two-million books, making this an excellent locale for both book worms and architecture lovers. Once you’re inside, prepare to lose yourself to the beauty of this collection.

New York Apartments

The libraries in Manhattan are an essential part of the life here in the city, much like Renoir House and its quintessential NYC rental experience. Here, residents indulge in newly redesigned apartments complete with modern kitchens, baths, and barnwood-style flooring. Located in the coveted Upper East Side neighborhood, these beautifully appointed homes are the classic New York Combination.

A host of building amenities from an on-site gym and fitness studio to 24/7 concierge services encompass residents in luxury, while interior features ranging from iced white quartz countertops to brushed nickel Moen fixtures envelope residents in the finest of modern designs.

Welcome to a perfect picture of luxury living. Welcome to Renoir House.