9. There was a Secret Storage Location During WWII

The New York Public is an extremely valuable resource with extremely valuable items inside of it. During World War II, after the attack of Pearl Harbor, many of the library’s most valuable books and manuscripts were taken off-site to safer locations. Relocated items were taken to bank vaults around New York City and 12,000 other items from the collection, valued at that time at $10 million, were temporarily moved to a secret location 250 miles away.

World War II prompted many precautions to be taken around New York City to protect its most important buildings. Windows atop Penn Station, which at the time was a grand Beaux-Arts structure designed by McKim, Mead, & White, and the original City Hall subway station, were blacked out, baseball games weren’t played at night, and the Statue of Liberty‘s torch went dark, all for fear of becoming targets of a bombing. During the War, the library even served as a helpful resource to the military, which made use of its Map Division to the coastlines of enemy countries.