Why, you may ask yourself, would I pay $200 a year to go to a library? Because it's the New York Society Library, and the membership cost seems absurdly low when it means you have access to such a quiet, beautiful book lover's haven in Manhattan. The books aren't your standard library issue, either. You can see for yourself on the Society's cover scan page, located on their website. The Library is the oldest in the city, and was founded in 1754 by the New York Society, a civic-minded group formed in the belief that the availability of books would help the city to prosper. It now contains nearly three hundred thousand volumes -- the result of the tastes of its members over almost the last quarter millennium. Members may borrow books and have the use of several reading and study rooms on the upper floors; they can also browse in the stacks. Non-members are invited without charge to use the ground floor for reading and reference. The Library's location, situated between the Whitney and the Met, means your weekend is planned.

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