A funny thing happened on the way to the Morgan Library and Museum. I bumped into Tanya and asked her if she would be one of the Wednesday Women. Adventurous and free-spirited individual that she is, of course she said yes. Then it turns out that she’s an architectural photographer. Given her interest in architecture (and the fact that we met at the entrance), I decided to share a most hidden and exquisite space with her. She was game.
The recently rebranded library and museum (formerly the Pierpont Morgan Library—one has to wonder why they dumped the Pierpont), was originally founded in 1906 to house the personal library of JP Morgan (yes, that JP Morgan). Of course, what you and I would consider a library contains only books. Not this library. The collection includes rare artworks from around the world and across the millennia. He was a collector in the way only American robber barons could be. To be fair, this guy had a lot of taste.
The quirk I want to introduce you to is the entrance and main hall completed in 2006. First, I have to say that it is gorgeous: a high ceilinged, light-filled space reminiscent of a spring forest. This new space brings together the somewhat staid buildings that make up the library/museum complex. I confess to being a little nervous about taking photos that do the place justice. That’s when Tanya simply took my iPhone and wandered around the room doing what she does best.
The best thing about this space is that someone had the brilliant idea of setting up some tables and creating a little café that serves everything from sandwiches to high tea to a late afternoon espresso. You can pretty much always get a table because no one knows it’s here. You don’t come to Murray Hill expecting a secret garden—and one that serves coffee! If you find yourself in this neighborhood, definitely stop by. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say, it’s worth the trip.
Just so you know, the Morgan Library and Museum located at 225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street is also pretty fabulous. The library is one of the most exquisite places I have ever been. They have free Friday nights from 7-9pm and they’re closed on Mondays. Regular admission is $20.