The New York Public Library: Its Architecture and Decoration

Henry Hope Reed, Author, Anne Day, Photographer W. W. Norton & Company $35 (288p) ISBN 978-0-393-02317-6
Visitors to the New York Public Library's main reading room are not likely to gaze enraptured at ornamental moldings, cherubs and vast, uninterrupted ceilings as they cope with poor lighting, uncomfortable chairs and often slow service. Reed's room-by-room architectural tour, a panegyric to the Fifth Avenue building, asks us to believe it is ""a people's palace,'' even though its ornate turn-of-the-century style modeled on classical Paris and Rome has the effect of intimidating rather than welcoming library users. No staircase, lamp, carved relief or marble bust is overlooked as the author pores over ``this great jewel of the civic crown'' in belabored prose, although his armchair tour does turn up many delightful facets of the building that are probably missed by most visitors. The impressive photographs make the book. (May 27)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1986
Release date: 12/01/1986
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-393-30336-0
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-393-07810-7
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