Public Library: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building – Haunting Past

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 17 January 2024
  • Time to read: 6 min.


The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library stands as an architectural masterpiece and a light of knowledge in the heart of Manhattan. Its grandeur and cultural significance have made it an iconic New York City institution.

However, rumours of a dark past and strange experiences have fascinated tourists beneath its famous exterior. Join us as we journey through the New York Public Library’s history, paranormal encounters, cultural significance, and enduring impact.


The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, also known as the New York Public Library Main Branch, is an iconic landmark situated in the heart of New York City. Designed by architects John Carrere and Thomas Hastings, the magnificent Beaux-Arts building was opened to the public in 1911. It was constructed with marble from Vermont and Tennessee, giving it a grand and imposing appearance that has captivated visitors for over a century.

The library’s history can be traced back to the consolidation of two institutions: the Astor Library and the Lenox Library. These institutions, founded in the mid-19th century by prominent philanthropists John Jacob Astor and James Lenox, held valuable collections of books, manuscripts, and artworks. In 1895, they were merged with the Tilden Trust to form the New York Public Library.

The library’s namesake, Stephen A. Schwarzman, is a prominent American businessman and philanthropist who made a substantial donation to support the renovation and restoration of the historic building. As a tribute to his generosity, the library was officially renamed the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in 2008.

Over the years, the Schwarzman Building has undergone numerous renovations and expansions to accommodate the growing collections and modernize its facilities. It remains a vital hub of learning, research, and cultural exploration, attracting millions of visitors each year to its vast collection of over 15 million books, maps, manuscripts, photographs, and artworks.

Beyond its role as a repository of knowledge, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building has become an architectural marvel and cultural icon, featuring grand reading rooms, ornate ceilings, and iconic marble lion sculptures guarding its entrance. It continues to serve as a symbol of intellectual pursuit and community engagement, carrying forward its legacy as one of the most esteemed libraries in the world.

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Within the majestic halls of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, numerous reports of paranormal activities have emerged over the years. Visitors and staff have shared chilling encounters and unexplained events that hint at a spectral presence:

One notable paranormal event associated with the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library is the “Phantom Page Turner” phenomenon. Numerous library staff and visitors have reported instances of witnessing a ghostly figure in the stacks, seemingly browsing through the pages of books. Witnesses describe a translucent apparition dressed in early 20th-century clothing, appearing and disappearing without a trace.

This spectral entity, known as the “Phantom Page Turner,” is believed to be a lingering presence from the library’s rich history, perpetually immersed in the pursuit of knowledge even in the afterlife. The mysterious sightings continue to captivate the imagination of those who encounter this ethereal reader within the hallowed halls of the library.

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building | Credit: sherylsmith5207

Haunted Foundation

Discover the enigmatic past of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in NYC! Beneath the grandeur of this iconic library lies a chilling secret. Before it became a beacon of knowledge, the site harbored a potter’s field, where the unknown dead found their final rest—strangers, paupers, criminals, and the poor, forgotten by society.

For over two decades, the grounds bore witness to countless unmarked graves, a haunting reminder of their tragic fates. Later, the Croton Reservoir adorned the location, but the spirits lingered beneath, tied to the land they once called home.

As the Bryant Park now graces the site, a serene oasis amid bustling streets, the souls of the forgotten endure below. Beneath the lush lawns and hallowed halls of the library, the echoes of the past persist, guarding their secrets.

Read Also: Lake Bomoseen

Haunted Astor Library Spirit

Unearth chilling secrets of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building! Before the iconic New York Public Library came to be, the merging of the Lenox and Astor libraries revealed a haunting past.

Within the shadowy halls of the Astor Library, a spine-chilling encounter unfolded. Dr. Cogswell, the librarian, came face to face with a recently deceased physician—a stranger to the library’s shelves. In a ghastly twist, the apparition delved into books on witchcraft and horror, seeking enigmatic knowledge from beyond. But as Dr. Cogswell spoke to the specter, it vanished, leaving behind an eerie enigma.

This hair-raising tale wasn’t mere gossip; newspapers of the time documented its haunting reality. The library, a bastion of wisdom, unknowingly opened its doors to the supernatural.

The Ghostly Reading Room

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

The Rose Main Reading Room at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is a magnificent and imposing space, known for its stunning architecture and vast collections. However, some visitors claim to have encountered paranormal activity within its hallowed halls.

Strange apparitions, flickering lights, and unexplained cold drafts have left some with a feeling of being in the company of unseen presences. The grandeur of the reading room adds to the allure of these ghostly encounters, making it a place where the line between the living and the spectral may blur.

Red Headed Library Ghost

Beware the Red-Headed Ghost haunting the hallowed halls of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building! Legend has it that the library’s original superintendent, Fedeler Sr., shared spine-chilling tales with his children about the spectral presence lurking within.

The eerie folklore traces back to a chilling truth—ten lives lost during the construction of this iconic New York Public Library. Among the unfortunate souls was a red-headed man, who tragically plummeted from scaffolding, forever bound to the reading room and attic.

As you wander through the labyrinthine corridors, imagine the restless spirit of the fallen worker still wandering the attic and reading room. The haunting legacy of the “Red-Headed Ghost” intertwines history and mystery, inviting you to delve into the shadowy past of this enduring architectural masterpiece.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, also known as the New York Public Library Main Branch, is an architectural gem and iconic cultural institution in New York City. Its majestic lion statues, vast reading rooms, and priceless collections have made it a prominent fixture in pop culture and media.

The building’s grandeur and scholarly allure have made it a popular backdrop in film and television. It has been featured in numerous productions, including “Ghostbusters,” where it served as the scene of a supernatural encounter, and “Sex and the City,” where Carrie Bradshaw attempted to marry Mr. Big.

Today, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building continues to be a hub for learning and a tourist attraction, embodying the intellectual spirit and architectural grandeur of the city. Its place in pop culture and media is a testament to its enduring influence and iconic status.


The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library represents the duality of light and darkness, where the pursuit of knowledge intertwines with enigmatic tales of the supernatural. Its grand halls bear witness to both the scholarly endeavors and the mysterious occurrences that have unfolded within its walls.

As visitors explore the library’s corridors and immerse themselves in the realm of books and ideas, they may also catch glimpses of the shadows that dance in the corners, reminding us of the mysteries that lie beyond our understanding.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Q1: Where is the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building located?

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is located at 476 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY.

Q2: Can anyone visit the New York Public Library?

Yes, the New York Public Library welcomes visitors from all over the world. The library is open to the public, and visitors can explore its public spaces, exhibits, and attend various programs and events.

Q3: Are there any reported paranormal activities at the library?

Yes, there have been reports of paranormal activities and unexplained phenomena within the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Visitors and staff have shared chilling encounters, such as sightings of ghostly figures and strange occurrences in certain areas of the library.

Q4: Is the New York Public Library only a repository for books?

No, the library serves as much more than a book repository. It is a cultural institution that offers educational programs, exhibitions, and community events. It aims to foster intellectual curiosity, facilitate research, and provide access to a vast array of resources.

Q5: Can I access digital resources and collections online?

Yes, the New York Public Library provides online access to a wide range of digital resources, including e-books, research databases, digitized archives, and more, which can be accessed remotely through their website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Baker Hotel

Previous Post

The Baker Hotel: A Haunting Legacy of Elegance and Paranormal Mysteries in Mineral Wells

Next Post

Orpheum Theatre: Legacy Unveiled

Orpheum Theatre