5/20/11-5/22/11 The New York Public Library’s Centennial Weekend Festival

Centennial Weekend Festival: May 20–22

Friday, May 20 — 10am–6pmSaturday, May 21 — 10am–6pmSunday, May 22 — 1pm–5pmMonday, May 23 — closed
Help celebrate the 100th birthday of the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building with a weekend-long Centennial Festival May 20th–22nd. Read on for a lineup of the many events—from an alternate-reality game to readings, live music, and storytelling—that will take place morning to night throughout the landmark building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

Thursday, May 19
Centennial Book Launch Presented by Penguin Classics and the MTA

You're invited! Join Jay Walder, Chairman, Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Paul LeClerc, President, The New York Public Library; and Kathryn Court, President and Publisher, Penguin Books; for a special book launch for 
Know the Past, Find the Future: The New York Public Library at 100, NYPL’s free Centennial book. Enjoy a special guest appearance by the Harlem Globetrotters, and readings by actress and singer Martha Plimpton, musician and writer Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding), and 2009 National Book Award Winner Colum McCann, with music by Tin Pan Blues Band from Music Under New York. New Yorkers can also pick up FREE copies of Know the Past, Find the Future, generously published by Penguin Classics to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Library's iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42 Street, on Thursday, May 19, starting at 10am. Books will be distributed at the Times Square, Grand Central, Bryant Park, Herald Square, and Union Square MTA subway stations, and will also be available at all 90 NYPL locations.

Friday, May 20
Let the Games Begin!

NYPL joins forces with online-game designer Jane McGonigal to create  Find the Future: The Game, an alternate-reality game that launches May 20 with an overnight “Write All Night” event. Five hundred prequalified players will spend the night in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building exploring its 70-miles of stacks and its world-renowned collections as they write a book together. Beginning May 21—the morning after the once-in-a-lifetime, overnight event—gamers from across the city and beyond will be able to join in at the Library and online. Head to Astor Hall on the first floor on Saturday, May 21, or Sunday, May 22, to  play along on a smartphone or laptop while feeling the power of the Library's collections firsthand. Or log on to game.nypl.org from any free NYPL or home computer with Internet access!

Saturday, May 21
Building Tours

10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm
Discover the history and architecture of the magnificent Stephen A. Schwarzman Building during free building tours offered throughout the day. Stop by Astor Hall on the first floor and pick up free tickets at the Information Desk. Limit: 50 people per tour.


11am, 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm
In honor of the Centennial, NYPL is also opening up the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building’s fabled stacks, which are usually closed to the public! During guided stack tours, visitors will get a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse of the miles of shelves that house the Library’s preeminent holdings. Sign up at the Information Desk in Astor Hall on the first floor. Tours will depart from the Deborah, Jonathan F. P., Samuel Priest, and Adam Raphael Rose Main Reading Room on the third floor. Limit: 40 people per tour.


Talk about Patience and Fortitude. Kids of all ages won’t want to miss the pair of five-foot replicas of the famous Library Lions—made entirely of LEGOs! Created for the Centennial by LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya, the fun-loving lions will be on display near the Fifth Avenue entrance May 20–22.

Digital Gotham: Researching New York City History Online | WORKSHOP!

11am–12 noon & 3–4pm
Event is free but reservations are recommended. Explore New York City history in minutes using a variety of online resources. In this hands-on class, you’ll be introduced to historical newspapers, books, and thousands of photographs--many available from your own computer. Reserve your 
11am to 12 noon and 3pm to 4pm spots online or call 1.888.71.TICKETS (1.888.718.4253).

History, Fantasy, Future: Comics Make You ThinkFOR TEENS!

11am–12 noon

Bring your imagination to life in this interactive comics carousel presented by R. Sikoryak of Masterpiece Comics fame! Join Nick Bertozzi (Lewis & Clark), Susan Kim (City of Spies), George O’Connor (Olympian), and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy) for a multimedia performance in the heart of the Library. See comics brought to life and find out what the ink-on-paper experience is really like.

Commemorative Centennial Tile Signing by Frank Giorgini

12 noon–2pm
Commemorate the Centennial of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building with a limited edition, decorative tile from The Library Shop. Each museum quality, bas-relief sculpted stoneware tile is handmade, glazed, and fired by Frank Giorgini in Upstate New York and depicts a Library Lion perched on a book in front of the Schwarzman Building facade. Meet the artist and have your tile signed! Visit 
The Library Shop to learn more about the tile and Giorgini's work.

The Believer Presents QNA: The Art of the Interview


Event is free but reservations are recommended. What makes a compelling question? Why is dialogue one of the most enduring forms of literature? The Believer magazine presents a free-wheeling discussion with four acclaimed American interviewers on the art of the interview. Panelists include legendary television host Dick Cavett, New York Times science reporter Claudia Dreifus, author Kenneth Goldsmith, and Paris Review editor Lorin Stein. The discussion will be capped off by a performance by actor Paulo Costanzo of a story by Saturday Night Live staff writer Simon Rich, followed by a presentation of Q+A, a game-like show created by playwright Darren O'Donnell—in which the audience becomes both interviewer and interviewee. Hosted by Believer editors Sheila Heti and Ross Simonini. Reserve your spot online or call 1.888.71.TICKETS (1.888.718.4253).

Cutting-Edge Theater: Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway Collide ORIGINAL PERFORMANCE!

Saturday, May 21, 1–6pm
Following its lauded production of Gatz at the Public Theater, Elevator Repair Service joins forces with artist Ben Rubin and statistician Mark Hansen to present Shuffle, a new performance installation that provides a fresh look at literature we thought we knew. The script is generated in real time by computer algorithms that recombine phrases from iconic works by Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway. Commissioned by NYPL and FuturePerfect. No reservations required. Performances are ongoing throughout the afternoon. Each session lasts about 30 minutes.

Dikki’s Wacky Magic ShowFOR KIDS!

With a combination of new and old magic, Dikki makes the impossible become believable. See a member of the audience levitate in the air, watch while Dikki throws a ball of sparkling fire from hand to hand, and witness a snowstorm right before your eyes. There’s lots of magic, music, and more! For all ages. No reservations required.

Free Centennial Ice Cream 

Sample ice cream for free starting at 1pm—while supplies last! Courtesy of Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.

Mapping on the Web: New Methods of Mapmaking | WORKSHOP!

This fun and informative hands-on workshop explores the world through NYPL’s historical map collection and new computer-based mapping methods, including map “warping,” a process that adds geographic context to old maps. Event is free but reservations are recommended. Reserve your spot 
online or call 1.888.71.TICKETS (1.888.718.4253).

Alice in Wonderland | FOR KIDS!


Lewis Carroll’s immortal classic chronicles a young girl’s journey of the imagination, in which she meets unusual characters, and ordinary, everyday things become extraordinary. Presented by the Hampstead Stage Company. For ages 4 and older. No reservations required.

Molière Comes Alive: A Reading by New York Classical Theatre |THEATER READING!


Join members of the acclaimed New York Classical Theatre as they present a rehearsal reading of Molière's rarely staged 
The School for Husbands, which they will unveil this summer. The troupe—which is known for bringing free productions of popular classics and forgotten masterpieces to wide audiences—will perform the classic in Central Park in June. Visit www.newyorkclassical.org for more details. No reservations required.

Dog on Fleas Family ConcertFOR KIDS!


Dog on Fleas has been performing and recording intelligent, gutsy music for kids and adults since 1999. With original, inventive music, and a tornado of a live show, the Fleas aim to convert listeners of all ages to their brand of loose, energetic music. Watch out for the roving trombone slide, fancy footwork, irresistible rhythms, and the spirited singing of the Fleas (and you). No reservations required.

LIVE from the NYPL & The Moth Present Between the Lions: Stories from The New York Public LibraryAFTER HOURS!

5-7 pm, special reception at Andaz (Fifth Avenue and 41st Street)
7:30-9:30pm, stories at NYPL
Join The Moth for a special show celebrating the Centennial of New York’s finest fueling station for the mind and soul, The New York Public Library. Hosted by 
The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik, with stories by Lemon Andersen, Ishmael Beah, Paul LeClerc, Jennifer 8 Lee, and Sharon Olds. Doors open 6.30 p.m. $25 general public; $15 Library donors, seniors, and students with valid ID. Purchase tickets online or call 1.888.71.TICKETS (1.888.718.4253).

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups Presented by The New Yorker | AFTER HOURS!

Event is free, but reservations are recommended.

Before lights out, 
The New Yorker will top off the day’s festivities with readings of three well-loved works of fiction from the magazine’s archives—including Tobias Wolff’s "Bullet in the Brain," read by actor David Hyde Pierce; "Dayward," excerpted from ZZ Packer’s novel-in-progress, read by actor Anika Noni Rose; and Roddy Doyle's "The Dinner," read by actor Gabriel Byrne. Hosted by Deborah Treisman, fiction editor of The New Yorker. Expect a nightcap of humor, chills, and captivating narratives as one New York institution salutes another. Reserve your spot online or call 1.888.71.TICKETS (1.888.718.4253).

Sunday, May 22
Building Tours

1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm
See Saturday's listing.


2pm, 3pm, 4pm
See Saturday's listing.


See Saturday's listing.

Children’s Storytelling FestivalFOR KIDS!

Performers from the Storytelling Center of New York City will weave tales and spin yarns for listeners of all ages. No reservation required.

Cutting-Edge Theater: Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway CollideORIGINAL PERFORMANCE!

Sunday, May 22, 1–4pmSee Saturday's listing.

Visiting the Collections: A Discussion with Contributors to Know the Past, Find the Future | NEW YORK LUMINARIES!

Event is free but reservations are recommended.
Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker leads singer Rosanne Cash, novelist Patrick McGrath, legal scholar and historian Annette Gordon-Reed, and Imam Khalid Latif in a lively conversation about their favorite item from the The New York Public Library’s vast collections. These luminaries are contributors to Know the Past, Find the Future,the Library’s Centennial book, generously published by Penguin Classics. Read moreabout Know the Past, Find the Future and where it is being distributed free around the city. Reserve your spot online or call 1.888.71.TICKETS (1.888.718.4253).

Find the Future with NYPLJOIN IN!

Event is free, but reservations are recommended.

What better way to end NYPL’s Find the Future weekend than by taking a journey through time to the world of tomorrow? Join us for a sneak preview of life in 2021 with some of the world's leading innovators and futurists, who will give us their take on what’s in store a decade from now. Jane McGonigal — creator of the Library's own one-of-kind alternate-reality game Find the Future: The Game — sees a future where we’ll solve real-world problems using techniques and lessons from video games. Other panelists will include leading visionary Stuart Candy, of the widely read sceptical futuryst blog, who will explore the future of Libraries and activism, and 
The New Yorker’s Michael Specter, who will look into the future of science and health to predict how we’ll be living, eating, and aging in the next decade. Moderated by Alison Snyder, a science journalist whose writing has appeared in Scientific AmericanThe Scientist, and The Lancet. Reserve your spot online or call 1.888.71.TICKETS (1.888.718.4253).

Monday, May 23


Centennial Gala | SOLD OUT!

On May 23, 2011 The New York Public Library will mark the 100th anniversary of its flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, with a glittering celebration of a century of extraordinary achievement. One of the City's most treasured spaces, the Library represents a dedication to serving the neediest of its residents and the enduring principle that knowledge is the key to lifelong success.

Sponsored by  

Proud partner of The New York Public Library

All events are free unless noted, though for some, reservations are recommended (to avoid disappointment).

Reservations will be released 10 minutes prior to start time; standby tickets will be made available to guests without reservations 10 minutes prior to start time.

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