New York City
Since its 17th-century European settlement as New Amsterdam, on the island known as Mannahatta to the Indigenous Lenape people, New York City has been a global crossroads and a center of commerce and finance. The city established itself—through rapid change, deliberate civic ambition, and cosmopolitanism—as a peer among the much older cultural capitals of Europe. New York became the first capital of the United States and a portal for the country’s mass immigration, a forerunner in American city planning, the birthplace of modern advertising, a hub of activism and entertainment, and the enduring home of the fashion industry, Wall Street, and Broadway. It can only be defined, somewhat paradoxically, by its ceaseless reinvention and transformation.
The New York Public Library’s flagship Beaux Arts building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street was, at the time of its completion in 1911, an architectural statement proclaiming New York’s equal status among the intellectual and cultural centers of Europe. Today it is a quintessential landmark of New York City. Throughout its collections, the Library holds a tremendous variety of materials relating to the creations and achievements of New Yorkers and to the history, development, and evolution of their city.
Please note when viewing in the gallery: some items listed here as "on view" have undergone page changes, or have been replaced by similar works from the same series, to preserve and maintain the valued artifacts in accordance with conservation guidelines.