Volume 80, Number 51 | May 19 - 25, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photo by Scott Stiffler

More iconic than that lame MGM lion.

NYPL, on 42nd Street, at 100
Activities celebrate Schwarzman building birthday


Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Centennial Festival
May 20–22
At Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
For info, visit www.nypl.org

Image courtesy of the Hampstead Stage Company

The building may be 100, but the festival’s got lots of activities for the under-10 set.

Like fine wine, the best books age exceedingly well. But you can’t just walk into a wine cellar, flash your membership card and exit with your choice of vintage (on loan). Better to stick with books — the heady buzz they supply lasts forever; and for 100 years, the 42nd Street branch of the New York Public Library has been providing free access to the classics (on loan). Now a classic in its own right, the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is approaching its 100th birthday. That’s cause for celebration, and a rare chance to make some noise in a building dedicated to silence, scholarship and contemplation.

That scaffolding that’s been obscuring the full majesty of the building? It’s finally gone; and the historic three-year preservation project to restore the landmark 150,000-square-foot façade is over — just in time to celebrate.

Carol Llewellyn, the NYPL’s centennial producer, says of this weekend’s jam-packed schedule, “It’s literally going to be a party — free ice cream, building tours, free performances in rooms all around the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. How many times do we get to celebrate the 100th birthday of such a magnificent landmark building that is home to so many? We’re going big, and we want the people of New York City to come celebrate with us!”

There are far too many activities (for adults, kids and families) to list here. To find them all, the NYPL encourages you to (what else?) do some reading — by visiting their website for a full schedule of what’s happening. A quick trip to the library via www.nypl.org will tell you everything you need to know. But here are a few select events we think will be among the best.

• An exhibition that highlights hundreds of items from the building’s collections.

• A book distributed free throughout NYC highlighting luminaries and their favorite items from the collections.

• An interactive, live-action “game” incorporating library collections and played in the building (as well as online) — designed by famed game designer Jane McGonigal.

• May 21, from 10:30am-4:30pm, a Building Tour lets you discover the history and architecture of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Stop by Astor Hall on the first floor and pick up free tickets at the Information Desk. Limit: 50 people per tour (also on May 22, from 1:30-4pm).

• May 21: “Alice in Wonderland” — For the kids, from 2-2:45pm. Lewis Carroll’s immortal classic chronicles a young girl’s journey of the imagination, in which she meets unusual characters, and ordinary, everyday things become extraordinary. Presented by the Hampstead Stage Company. For ages 4 and older. No reservations required.


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