New York is full of cultural and historical sites. From the Met, to the Statue of Liberty and everything else in between. With so many places and neighborhoods, we understand it can be difficult to navigate which is why we have compiled the guide below. This is far from a complete list, so please feel free to offer your own suggestions and additions!
In town for a class Upstairs? Where to stay?
New York is full of options. If you are coming for a course and plan to travel by subway, we are off the L-train, which is just about accessible from all other lines in the city.
If you would like to stay nearby, we would recommend staying in Williamsburg BK.
If you would prefer to stay in Manhattan, most neighborhoods along 14th Street would make for the quickest journey: East Village, Union Square, West Village. If a subway transfer doesn’t scare you, that will open up your options quite a bit.
Feeling adventuresome? New York has many apartments for rent on AirBnB or VRBO.
We could also recommend Trip Advisor for local availability and rates.
What to do?
The Morgan Library (225 Madison Ave), well worth a visit by just about anyone, is a museum and research library that began as J.P. Morgan’s private collection of lluminated, literary, and historical manuscripts, early printed books, and old master drawings and prints.
The campus has expanded many times, the latest being a modernist addition designed by Renzo Piano which is a refreshing juxtaposition to the grand and ornate Medieval and Classical interiors (take a look at the library below!)
The New York Public Library (5th Avenue at 42nd Street) has 88 locations throughout the 5 boroughs of New York City, but there is no question as which is the most famous: The Main Branch on 5th Avenue. This iconic New York building is certainly worth a visit. Be sure to checkout the famous Rose Reading room. This space is currently undergoing renovations but is expected to reopen Fall 2016. Check their website before visiting.
Just a few blocks away from the Public Library is a lesser known Japanese bookstore called Kinokuniya (1073 Avenue of Americas). A hidden gem for Japanese manja, art books, and Asian books & magazines.
The Grolier Club (47 East 60th Street), a special place entirely devoted to Book Arts, regularly has exhibitions on the first and second floors of the club, and is worth a visit for any Book Enthusiast.
The Club, which is an association of bibliophiles, endeavors “to foster the study, collecting, and appreciation of books and works on paper, their art, history, production, and commerce.”
In addition to its public exhibitions, the Club’s research library has one of the more extensive collections of book auctions and book seller catalogs in North America.
The Center for Book Arts (28 West 27th Street) is one of the few contemporary arts organizations dedicated to the art of the book. Here you can view book arts exhibitions in the context of an active, working studio. Founded by Richard Minsky in 1974, the center seeks to facilitate communication between the book arts community and the larger spheres of contemporary art and literature. Be sure to visit their website in advance of your visit as they often have talks or guest speakers, in addition to their exhibitions.
Central Booking (21 Ludlow Street) located in the Lower East Side this offbeat gallery features exhibitions on artist books and print. Make sure to check their website for current exhibitions, workshops and events!
Printed Matter (231 11th Avenue) is an independent non-profit grant-supported bookstore, artist organization, and arts space, dedicated to the dissemination, understanding and appreciation of artists’ books. Go here and expect to get lost in the bookstore’s shelves for hours at a time.
If you’re lucky, you might be here for the NY Artist Book Fair, which Printed Matter organizes at PS1.
The Sketchbook Project (28 Frost Street) is a crowd-soured library that features 35,217 artist’ books contributed by creative people from 135+ countries. The Brooklyn Art Library is their storefront exhibition space where the Sketchbook Project collection is on view to the public.
The Strand (828 Broadway) is a bibliophiles dream! Nearly 90 years old and a New York icon, this bookstore (if you can call it just a bookstore) is a destination for New Yorkers and tourists, and bibliophiles and the average joe, alike. This store boasts “18 Miles of Books” split amongst its 4 floors and sidewalk! Be sure to visit the 3rd floor to see their collection of Rare Books.’
Bauman Rare Books (535 Madison Avenue), an upscale shop for antiquarian, rare and collectible books, is a site for sore bibliophile eyes. Beautiful spines and impressive titles flank the shelves of this Madison Avenue store. Be sure to make an appointment and check out their ever changing collection.
Argosy Rare Books (116 East 59th Street), now in its third generation of family ownership, has an enormous stock of antiquarian and out-0f-print items. This shop specializes in Americana, modern first editions, autographs, art, antique maps & prints, an the history of science and medicine.
Molasses Books (770 Hart Street) with its in-store coffeeshop, this bookstore is built for lingering! Affordability is the main objective of this shop, with most books in the $5-8 range. What makes this bookstore particularaly unusual is it’s barter system – exchange your used books for beverages. A nice alternative to other pricey used bookshops, not to mention it’s a stone throw away from TALAS.
Swann Galleries (104 East 25th Street) is an auction house specializing in Rare and Antiquarian Books and is now the largest specialist auctioneer of Works on Paper in the world.
Swann conducts approximately 40 sales a year, with departments devoted to Books, Autographs, Maps & Atlases, Photographys & Photobooks, Prints & Drawings, Vintage Posters, African-American Fine Art and Illustration Art.
Be sure to visit their website and see what’s on view!