The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library sits majestically at the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. Honestly, I did not know that this was going to be on my Fifth Avenue walk, which only reinforces the importance of my "walk every street" mission. I forgot to take exterior photographs (duh). The interior shots were difficult to manage in low light, but I did my best and had to forgo any detail shots.

The NYPL had its official dedication ceremony in 1911 - sixteen years after the first document was signed in agreement to build the library by its founders. It was not the first library in NYC, but the two branches before it were struggling with funding and did not offer a circulating collection of books. The library as it stands today was devised as the first public library for both research and circulation.

The total cost to build was approximately $9 million at the time. Between 30,000 and 50,000 visitors streamed through the building the first day it was open. Today, The NYPL is visited and used annually by more than 15 million people. There are 1.86 million cardholders. The branch system has grown to include 87 libraries, with collections totaling 6.6 million items!

This particular location and collection is still publicly accessible, but for research purposes only and offers no circulating books. It has reading rooms, exhibition spaces, a library shop and guided tours [floorplan]. I walked through two exhibits: Between Collaboration and Resistance: French Literary Life Under Nazi Occupation and 1969: The Year of Gay Liberation. I was allowed to take photographs in the latter. An excerpt from the exhibit:

"The year 1969 was a flashpoint in the history of LGBT civil rights struggles, marking a paradigmatic shift in the ways that gays and lesbians saw themselves and fought for their full inclusion within American society. In the wake of the Stonewall Riots on June 28 of that year, gays and lesbians in New York City radicalized in an unprecedented way, founding activist groups—Gay Liberation Front, the Radicalesbians, Gay Activists Alliance, and Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries—that created a new vision: Gay Liberation."





Walking Fifth Avenue

One of my major goals whilst living in NYC is to literally walk most (if not all) of Manhattan, from Battery park to 110th Street. This is a time consuming task, but it has its accomplishments: exercise, discovery and eventually, familiarity. Today I took a train to Union Square/14th Street and began my 72 block walk to 86th Street!

Fifth Avenue is known for its upscale shopping, touting brands like Chanel, Fendi, Gucci, and Tiffany & Co. After it reaches Central Park, 5th Avenue turns into "Museum Mile" with the notable Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum to name a few.

As an interior designer I was thrilled to see all the amazing storefronts and interiors on this street, especially from the upscale stores. The streets became so crowded that I quickly gave up taking photographs - you would not believe how long I patiently stood waiting for a chance to take the person-less photos above! - but I did manage to capture two creative storefronts: Anthropologie and Kate Spade.