The New York Public Library's Rose Main Reading Room Reopens

The New York Public Library's Rose Main Reading Room and the adjacent Bill Blass Public Catalog Room, located on the third floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan, reopened this month after being closed for more than two years for needed repairs and restoration. 

Rose Main Reading Room, New York Public Library

The rooms had been shut down to the public in May 2014 after an ornamental plaster rosette fell from the ceiling overnight. As the floor-to-ceiling space in the Reading Room measures 52 feet, it seemed prudent to take extra measures to protect the safety of researchers engaged in quiet study. While taking the initiative to learn new things, slumped over a book or hammering away at a laptop, they shouldn't have to worry about the sky falling.

The ceiling of the two rooms includes 900 rosettes, now reinforced with steel cables, including the one that needed to be recreated and replaced. The ceiling mural in the Blass room is refurbished and bright. The main Reading Room looks largely the same as visitors may remember, except the overall ambience may feel a tad cheerier, as if the chandeliers, the lamps on the long oak tables, and above all, the books had received a proper dusting.

What looks exactly the same is the awkward spectacle of visitors coming to gawk at the room, one of the greatest in New York City, while other people are trying to study.

Hours of the General Research Division of the NYPL are located on the library's website.

Image by Walking Off the Big Apple from October 15, 2016.

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Walking Off the Big Apple features self-guided tours to neighborhoods, streets, cultural history, good books, architecture, museums, parks, landscapes, and offbeat travel experiences in New York City.

Older posts will sometimes be updated to reflect relevant changes in the city, i.e. store or restaurant closings or transit information.

Writer and editor Teri Tynes created Walking Off the Big Apple in the summer of 2007. Email: teritynes@gmail.com.