Public libraries are fantastic because they democratize knowledge. You do not need to pay $40,000 a year to get a great education like you would at a university. You just need a library card, curiosity, and motivation.
What makes NYPL so special is the vast amount of resources at its disposal and the myriad ways in which it makes those resources easily accessible for its users. I am a native New Yorker, but I have lived in several other places in the U.S., and I have to say that NYPL is far and away the best public library system I have ever used. I hope it stays that way.