Three Floors of Candy and a Quiet Retreat in Times Square

Stephen A. Schwarzman is the largest library in NYC.  Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Stephen A. Schwarzman is the largest library in NYC. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


Flashy neon lights, giant digital billboards, crowds of people, brilliant Broadway marquees, costumed characters, musicians. Even for local New Yorkers, Times Square can make for a fun afternoon. 

 Let’s start the day off with something sweet. Go visit M&Ms World (1600 Broadway, New York), one of the biggest candy stores in New York City. It has three floors filled with goodies that will make your inner child go crazy.

On the first floor, you’ll find one of the most affordable souvenirs: collectible pennies. Make sure to bring change. You’ll need two quarters and one penny. You turn a nob to squeeze an image onto a novelty penny that comes out of the return cup located at the bottom of the machine. 

You can also customize a bag of M&Ms by choosing from various color schemes and by having your name printed on the M&Ms.

When you are ready to pay for your items, your best option is the first floor; otherwise, you’ll be waiting in line for a very long time. Mary, a New Yorker said she had been waiting in line for 40 minutes.

After that, enjoy some quiet time at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the largest public library in New York (476 Fifth Avenue at 42nd St). There are plenty of beautiful spaces there for both adults and children.   

“My children and I love coming here because we get to sing and dance along,” said Lola. “Today, we sang ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes’ and read ‘Clifford, the Big Red Dog.’”

When exploring the library, be sure to go to the Map Room on the first floor. It contains one of the largest map collections in the world, including over 10,000 maps of New York City.  

Once you exit the Map Room, turn right and walk straight until you arrive at the Dewitt Wallace Periodical Room. Its many unique murals and chandeliers make it one of the most elegant rooms in the library. 

If you enjoy writing or need a quiet workspace, you can reserve a spot at the Cullman Center on the second floor and have your own little office to work in.

“I came here to kill time,” said Sara from Massachusetts. “I ended up falling in love with this library.”

On the third floor, you’ll find one of the largest and loudest rooms of the library: the Rose Main Reading Room. The room features rows of tables for visitors to sit at while they read, write, and look for inspiration.

“Coming here is on my holiday bucket list,” said Dalila, a tourist from Malaysia. “I just arrived 20 minutes ago, and I love it already. After seeing the authentic artwork on the ceilings, I’m considering repainting my house and replicating the artwork from here.”

When exiting the library, don’t be on your phone! You’ll have to go through another bag check to make sure you didn’t steal anything from the library.

“STOP TEXTING,” yelled a security guard. “You need to pay attention to what is happening in your surroundings.”

As you wander off from the library, head to Times Square via West 42nd Street, where you will find something that can save you hundreds of dollars.

Many New Yorkers are willing to wait in the long line outside the “tkts” booth on 7th Ave in Midtown to cash in on the potential savings on Broadway show tickets.

“I’ve worked in Time Square for about 15 years, and I only recently discovered what hides underneath the red stairs,” said Alyssa, the first person in the line. “I knew they were a big tourist attraction because they make for great pictures. However, I thought the huge lines were people waiting to take a picture on the steps.”

Nicole and Berri, a married couple, were third in line.

“It’s totally worth standing in the cold and waking up super early to be one of the first people in line,” said Nicole. “I’m never going back to paying full price for any Broadway or off-Broadway show.”

The booth is open all week long. However, the opening and closing hours vary. If you want to assure you’ll get tickets, you should be there at 9:00am. 

So fight the crowds, embrace your inner tourist, and find something new to explore in Times Square this weekend.

FeaturesCasey Levinson