Checking Out Sex and The City Movie Locations at the New York Public Library

New York Public Library

                                                            Such a pretty building…

The free-to-tour New York Public Library is beautiful, stately, and rivals pricier sites with its gorgeous architecture. And the fact that it played a part in my beloved first Sex and the City movie is just one more extra bonus!

New York

From the movie – when everyone was still happy! (Via

New York City is known for expensive attractions, restaurants, and fashion. So it’s a relief to discover cheap and even free places and activities here and there. I wrote earlier about checking out Bryant Park during its spectacular tulip explosion. And right next to Bryant Park is the world-famous library.

The Main Branch of the New York Public Library is made from Vermont marble and brick, with giant columns standing at attention in front of its entry doors. Guests are also greeted by 2 very famous marble lions named Patience and Fortitude.

New York Public Library
The building’s official dedication was in 1911, after the first cornerstone was placed 9 years earlier. Over the years, it has been featured in numerous TV shows as well as the movies Ghostbusters, Prizzi’s Honor, The Day After Tomorrow (although it looked pretty raggedy in that disaster pic!), 13 Going on 30, and Spiderman 3 with Toby McGuire.

But because I’m a huge fan of the first Sex and the City movie, I was especially interested in checking out the site where Carrie wanted to have her huge wedding to Mr. Big. Although that didn’t exactly work out for them, I was still excited to look inside.

Inside the New York Public Library
New York Public Library
The first thing you notice when stepping into the library is how cavernous yet beautiful the first room is. It feels like a site from a completely different era with stone archways, a rounded roof, large windows with intricate metalwork, and carved details throughout.

Just to the right is the first grand staircase…

New York Public Library
Above that is a second stone staircase, broken up by a landing known as the Astor Hall area. This is where Carrie found out by phone that Big wasn’t coming to the wedding…

New York Public Library

Movie still from the Astor Hall area

Movie capture from the Astor Hall area

Seriously, this scene still makes me tear up

Seriously, this scene still makes me teary eyed

Fleeing down the first grand staircase

Fleeing down the first grand staircase

I snapped a bunch of photos in this area but was surprised to discover the real beauty was right at the top of that second set of steps. Here you’ll see a gorgeous wood paneled mezzanine with huge, painted murals on the walls and ceiling. Known as the McGraw Rotunda, it truly felt like something more at home in an old European city.

New York Public Library

Painted ceiling in the Rotunda

Painted ceiling in the Rotunda

The reading room just past that area was also quite beautiful, with stately white brick walls, giant chandeliers, and a spectacular ceiling that caused me to walk into a staff member because I couldn’t stop looking up.

New York Public Library

I want to read here!

New York Public Library

Another gorgeous ceiling. Wowza!

And then the very best part hit me — all of these people were there to read or check out books for another time. Real books. They actually took the time to come in instead of just downloading from the internet. So maybe the predictions that libraries will soon become a thing of the past are wrong. I certainly hope so.

I’ve always found any library to be a relaxing, safe haven where I can allow myself to stop rushing around and just enjoy being surrounded by shelf after shelf of books waiting to be read. And if it also happens to be in a truly beautiful setting? That’s just gravy. :-)

New York Public Library


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  1. What a beautiful building. It certainly rivals some of the old buildings of Europe. What a wonderful find, and to realize it doesn’t cost to go in and see all this beauty. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! I had no idea the interior was as gorgeous it was. Now I want to go back and take a half day to really explore all of its hidden corners. :-)

    1. Thank so much! I LOVE this city. This was my 6th or 7th trip and it never gets old. So much energy, as well as great food and sites to explore. I also fell in love with this library (and kind of want to move in!)

    1. Me too! I’ve walked past this building many times (and had my picture taken next to the stone lions) but never took the time to step inside. Big mistake! It’s definitely worth checking out. :-)

    1. Thanks for stopping by from SITS! Obviously I’m a huge “Sex and the City” fan, too. :-) And thanks for the compliment about the pictures. Really appreciate it!

    1. Oooh, I’ll bet you have lots of interesting stories from growing up there! I’m kind of mad that I never stepped inside this gorgeous building during any of my previous visits. As you said, it really is a treasure!

  2. One of my thoughts during my first visit to New York as an adult was “How can all these people walk so purposefully when there is so much to see all around them”. If I lived in NY I would take it for granted. But it was nearly all a wonderland to me. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    1. Same here Sandy! I’m surprised I didn’t walk off more curbs with all of my walking around while looking up at all the thrilling sites there. :-)

    1. Ooh, I’m glad to hear you say that Talya! I’m such a library lover and so happy when I see one still being used regularly.

  3. We are headed there next month and I will definitely get by there! Your pictures are wonderful! I agree with some of your other readers that we all take for granted what’s in our own backyards. I look up at our own mountains sometimes just to try to see them again – the way I saw them when I first moved here! Thank you for a fun and beautiful post.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words! And it’s true. It’s so hard to not take for granted what’s around us day after day.

    1. I haven’t really done it on previous travels Sarah, but I’m going to start adding it to the list! Since getting back I’ve been hearing about a lot of other libraries worth visiting. Warms my little book-loving heart. :-)

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