New York Public Library, Belmont Branch

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The Bronx Free

Situated in the heart of NYC’s authentic Little Italy in the Bronx, the two-story library (named after Austrian immigrant August Belmont, the same namesake of the Belmont Stakes) has a distinctly ’80s look, with an open-air, skylit atrium sporting a brick floor, a huge live palm tree and a piano. The spacious, well-organized children’s room, on the second floor, is stocked with picture and chapter books in Italian, Spanish and Albanian, reflecting the neighborhood’s multiethnic population. Its best feature, though, is its diverse array of kids' programs, from chess and workshops in which participants make the likes of seed bombs (throwable dirt balls filled with flower and veggie seeds, which hold within them the wish for new life) to old-school game days, yoga classes, an all-ages crafts group and Saturday afternoon family movies—in addition to a wide array of storytimes.

Venue name: New York Public Library, Belmont Branch
Address: 610 E 186th St

Cross street: between Arthur and Hughes Aves
Opening hours: Mon, Tue 10am–6pm; Wed noon–8pm; Fri, Sat 10am–5pm
Transport: Subway: Subway: D to 182nd–183rd Sts