Lonely Planet Writer

In Pictures: the historic Rose Reading Room at the New York Public Library has reopened

The historic Rose Reading Room at the New York Public Library has been reopened following a two year closure for repair and restoration.

The historic reading room has been re-opened following over two years of restoration.
The historic reading room has been re-opened following over two years of restoration. Image by Max Touhey Photography
The newly reopened rooms are located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
The newly reopened rooms are located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Image by Max Touhey Photography

The room, which is located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, officially reopened last week along with the adjacent Bill Blass Public Catalog room. The rooms have spaces where researchers can access the Library’s general materials as well as areas for members of the public to use for reading or study. It has Wi-Fi and a new state of the art storage system is being built underneath Bryant Park where millions of research books are accessed by staff using a book train conveyor belt system.

Crowds gather for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Rose Reading Room.
Crowds gather for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Rose Reading Room. Image by Max Touhey Photography
The renovations saw work being done on all 900 plaster elements as well as lights and furnishings.
The renovations saw work being done on all 900 plaster elements as well as lights and furnishings. Image by Max Touhey Photography
The New York sky is seen beyond the windows of the Rose Reading Room.
The New York sky is seen beyond the windows of the Rose Reading Room. Image by Max Touhey Photography

The main reading room was first closed following an incident that saw a decaying ornamental plaster rosette falling from the 52-foot high ceiling overnight in May of 2014. Following that, the library conducted a full inspection of the ceilings that date back to when the library was first built in 1911 and decided to make improvements.

A visitor snaps a photo of the newly reopened room .
A visitor snaps a photo of the newly reopened room . Image by Max Touhey Photography
The historic reading rooms were first built in 1911.
The historic reading rooms were first built in 1911. Image by Max Touhey Photography

All 900 plaster elements in both rooms were reinforced during the renovation, with the rosette that fell from the ceiling being recreated. Muralists were called in to recreate a 33-foot James Wall Finn mural on the ceiling of the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room and lighting specialists restored chandeliers, installing LED lights.

A visitor peruses a paper in the newly reopened room.
A visitor peruses a paper in the newly reopened room. Image by Max Touhey Photography
The exterior of the building against the New York City backdrop.
The exterior of the building against the New York City backdrop. Image by Max Touhey Photography

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in the South Hall of the main reading room and was attended by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, Library President Tony Marx, members of the board of trustees and poet Elizabeth Alexander who shared some readings. The video below features a stunning time lapse of the books being re-shelved.

The building has been featured in a selection of famous movies throughout the years including Ghostbusters.
The building has been featured in a selection of famous movies throughout the years including Ghostbusters. Image by Max Touhey Photography

The stunning room is 78 by 297 feet, the length of two city blocks and nearly as big as a football field. It has been featured in many films, including the 1984 cult classic Ghostbusters.