Tues-Fri, 11am-7pm; Sat, 11am-6pm (Children’s reading room opens in April)
1, 2, 3 at Chambers St.
Free to use library; programs: free for children or with membership, $7 for students/seniors, $10 adults; membership, $50/yr
After seventeen years in Soho, Poets House now inhabits a large, airy space in Battery Park. The space is designed to “allow the outside world in” with large windows, brightly painted walls, and a light-catching installation piece, all tucked into the first two floors of a “green” building overlooking the Hudson River. Poets House is best known for its library — one of the most comprehensive independent poetry libraries in the country with nearly 50,000 volumes neatly lining the walls. The Elizabeth Kray Hall, which opens onto an outdoor courtyard, hosts discussions and other events. Upstairs, the Reading Room is reminiscent of a college library, with the quintessential “social area” complete with comfy couches on one end and a silent reading space on the other. Free admission to the library allows visitors to stop in as often as they please, but checking out the original Walt Whitman letter or the works of Philip Guston on display is a must for first-timers.