You live in Brooklyn, but are in Manhattan between appointments. Where’s a clean, well-lighted place to kill time or work that’s not a Starbucks? An obvious answer is libraries, home to (mostly) free Wi-Fi, with bathrooms and power outlets if you’re lucky.
New York Public Library: New York Public Library branches are everywhere. While the stunning Rose Reading Room at the main library in Midtown is being renovated, there are other spaces in the building available to sit and work. There’s no food or drink allowed, but there’s a small Amy’s Bread in the main lobby for coffee breaks. You can also visit the real Winnie the Pooh, Piglet and their friends in the children’s room.
5th Avenue at 42nd Street, Manhattan. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday (until 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday), 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center: This spot has tables, a café, scanners and copiers, along with a huge collection of books, films, recordings, clippings and other materials on the performing arts.
40 Lincoln Center Plaza, Manhattan. Open 12-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday (until 8 p.m. Monday and Thursday.
Poets House: This Battery Park City library is serene, quiet and even has manual typewriters. A privately funded library open to the public, it has a beautiful upstairs space to read, work or, heck, write poetry.
10 River Terrace, Manhattan. Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
The New York Society Library (Upper East Side): This is the city’s oldest private library (1754) and home to one of Manhattan’s last working card catalogs. It’s free to enter, but if you want Wi-Fi and other services (including individual study rooms, writing workshops, research, lockers), anyone can join for $250 a year.
53 E. 79th Street, Manhattan. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen: This Midtown nonprofit isn’t free ($50 per year), but it’s one of New York’s oldest and most beautiful libraries, full of old (and new) books on the building trades. While you’re here, check out the quirky Lock Museum.
20 West 44th Street, Manhattan. Open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday (times may vary due to events, so check ahead).
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