New York City Sights

B. Altman Building/New York Public Library–Science, Industry, and Business Library (SIBL)

  • 188 Madison Ave. Map It
  • Murray Hill
  • Library/Archive

Published 06/26/2015

Fodor's Review

In 1906, department-store magnate Benjamin Altman gambled that his fashionable patrons would follow him uptown from his popular store in the area now known as the Ladies' Mile Historic District. His new store, one of the first of the grand department stores on 5th Avenue, was designed to blend in with the mansions nearby. Note in particular the beautiful entrance on 5th Avenue. In 1996 the New York Public Library (NYPL) set up a high-tech library here. A 33-foot-high atrium unites the building's two floors: the lending library off the lobby and the research collections below. Downstairs, a wall of electronic ticker tapes and TVs tuned to business-news stations beams information and instructions to patrons. As part of the controversial Central Library Plan, the NYPL had planned to sell this library and its Mid-Manhattan circulating library to fund renovations to the iconic Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street and 5th Avenue, but the sale was delayed and ultimately abandoned due to public outcry. A free hour-long tour is given Thursday at 2; meet at the reception desk.

Sight Information


188 Madison Ave., between 34th and 35th sts., New York, New York, 10016, USA

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Sight Details:

  • Mon., Fri., and Sat. 11–6, Tues.–Thurs. 10–8

Published 06/26/2015


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