info 04.23.07

The New York Society Library

Even though the New York Society Library, 53 E. 79th [Park/Mad] 212.288.6900, is on a major cross street, it keeps a low profile. All well and good. That means if you become a member here, you'll enjoy the same handsome rooms of this oasis with the same amount of peace and quiet in your pursuits.

Despite its name, it's not a library for New York society; rather, it was started by a group that called themselves the NY Society. That was in 1754, and its first location was room in City Hall, where it was referred to as the "city library." Between 1795 and 1937, it moved several times (Nassau St., Leonard St., University) and finally in 1937 to its present site.

The reading and reference room on the ground floor is open to the public. Members, though, may make use of the rest of the library's 12 floors and nearly 300,000 volumes. This means you have access to the stacks, reading rooms, study rooms, and a children's collection. One of the reading rooms looks like an attractive parlor. The Member's Room, on the second floor, is on a grander scale. Strengths of the collection are English and American literature, history, art history, and books about New York.

A household membership is $200 a year, $125 for teachers and college students.

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