best trick architecture (2008)

LOW LIBRARY AND ITS COURTYARD

Go in the left-hand entrance to Columbia University at the Broadway gate; stay close to the left-hand wall, which you would have done anyway in the days when 116th ran straight through. After you've walked for a few moments, a huge urn will come into view, then another, then a little fake-out where the wall looks like it's ending but just dips in a few feet—and then kaboom, you're staring at LOW LIBRARY AND ITS COURTYARD, designed by 19th-century architects McKim, Mead, and White to magically appear as if a blindfold has just been whipped off your eyes.

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