The $200 million renovation to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL) on 40th St. and Fifth Ave, formerly known as the Mid-Manhattan Library, brought major improvements to the Midtown Branch, but its pièce de résistance remains the stunning rooftop terrace.
And though it first opened to New Yorkers in 2021, the spot still remains a hidden gem within the city.
The New York Public Library began renovating SNFL, which hadn’t been updated since the 1970s, in August of 2017. It was quite an expansive project, as the building actually was first designed as a department store! You can read even more details about the renovation here.
It was originally supposed to open in May 2021, but was pushed back due to COVID-19. Now it’s finally open to visitors, offering general library use and seating, unlimited browsing, computer access, and more.
The new library boasts hundreds of thousands of books, spaces for programs and classes, new, expansive areas dedicated to children and teens, the Pasculano Learning Center offering career services, English language and literacy classes, media and technology training, a multimedia studio, and a world-class Business Center.
However, one of the most exciting features undoubtedly is the only free, public rooftop space in Midtown. It’s unique design is topped with a metal structure that is dubbed “the wizard’s hat.” It’s color was inspired by Manhattan’s Beaux Art patinated copper-clad mansard roof.
NYPL’s rooftop terrace is the perfect spot to admire the city scenery while enjoying a captivating read. Catch views of Midtown Manhattan and open-air seating. You can even book it out for an event there.
“This library is exactly what New York needs right now: a truly open and public place accessible to all, where people of all ages and backgrounds can experience wonder, grow in their understanding of the world, and launch on new trajectories that enrich life for all of us,” said Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Andreas Dracopoulos, in a previous statement.