Going to a Barnes and Nobles in the city can be very relaxing. Sitting, drinking a chai or latte downright heavenly but when you get 1/4 way into a book and you can't bring it with you without paying 20$, that can be frustrating! When I first moved to the city and even today, I find myself scrolling through the walls of a Barnes & Nobles looking for a book or a magazine to read while I sit and relax for a bit, but the best way to get inexpensive books while walking through a gorgeous antique environment is to go one of the free public libraries in the city! There are literally tons of public free libraries in the city. All Public Libraries are listed at http://www.nypl.org/ or a seperate site for Brooklyn Public Libraries at http://www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/ and are open every day except Sundays. The libraries have exhibitions, panel discussions, classes like using Internet Resources and event a Storytime! The NY Public Library (above) is one of the largest public library systems in the country and one of the largest research library systems in the whole world!
The most well known is the one above called:
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
455 5th Ave at 41st Street
Beautiful setting and located right next to Bryant Park!
Mulberry Street Library
10 Jersey St btw Lafayette & Mulberry Sts.
Contact #: (212) 966-3424
135 Second Avenue near East 8th St & St. Marks Place
Contact #: (212) 674-0947
742 10th Avenue btw 50 & 51st Sts
Contact #: (212) 586-5098
In Brooklyn -
The Central Library is the biggest library in Brooklyn. It is gorgeous and has so many extras going on all the time! It is located at 1 Grand Army Plaza near Prospect Park. Contact#: (718) 748-5709
Bay Ridge Library
7223 Ridge Road 73rd St
Contact #: (718) 748-5709
These are just a few of the awesome libraries that are free of charge and that are available everyday of the week except Sundays. And the best part - you get your own library card, that is also free! :)