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Thread: New York Public Libraries

  1. #1

    Default New York Public Library Architecture

    Some NYPL libraries arranged by year built. It sure goes downhill after WW2.

    Jefferson Market Library -1877

















    Carnegie Libraries
    1902-Yorkville Branch Library















    Seward Park Branch - 1903









    Tompkins Park Branch - 1904






    67th Street Branch Library - 1905



    Tremont Branch Library






    Aguilar Branch Libraries - 1905



    Mott Haven Branch Library -1905






    96th Street Branch Library -1095



    Hudson Park Branch - 1906



    St. Agnes - 1906





    Fort Washington - 1914
    Last edited by Derek2k3; August 28th, 2009 at 01:38 PM.

  2. #2

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    Hunts Point Branch - 1929







    Westchester Square Branch -1955



    Kingsbridge Branch Library - 1958



    Melrose Branch Library - Renovated 1959 (Built as a Carnegie Library 1914)





    Grand Concourse Branch Library - 1959





    South Beach Branch Library - 1965








    Riverside Branch Library -1967
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3503/3865348766_d2a87af21d_o.jpg[/img]




    Roosevelt Island Branch Library -1969







    Spuyten Duyvil Branch - 1970








    Some new additions in the last few years. Lots of glass...






    Grand Central Branch





    Battery Park Branch Library


    Last edited by Derek2k3; August 28th, 2009 at 01:37 PM.

  3. #3
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    Great thread. Jefferson Market started out as a courthouse and jail, was then abandoned, came very close to being demolished in 1959 for an apt building but was saved by Mayor Wagner & converted into a library.

    All the Carnegie Libraries still standing (that haven't been ruined by renovation) should receive immediate blanket landmark protection. The libraries of the 1950s onward pale in comparison and are exemplary of the change in our architectural values, skills, sensibilities over those decades.

    Is the Battery Park branch open yet?

    The Brooklyn main branch has some incredible art deco work:

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    Excellent, thank you Derek.

    Everything after Kingsbridge Branch Library - 1958 is awful , especially Spuyten Duyvil Branch - 1970, which is so...brutal. And that Roosevelt Island branch is just revolting. The sculpture on the front of Grand Concourse Branch Library - 1959 is nice, though.

    Everything before 1958 is wonderful . I really like the Art Deco influence on Westchester Square Branch -1955.

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    Spuyten Duyvil just needs landscaping. It has good bones.

  6. #6

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    yes, lanscaping via bulldozer and wrecking ball

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    Oh, you kids!

  8. #8

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    Million-Dollar Makeover

    After two years, the St. Agnes branch prepares to welcome the public

    By Megan Finnegan

    February 4, 2010


    Light has come to the St. Agnes Library. After a two-year renovation, during which the branch was shuttered, St. Agnes is slated to reopen its doors Feb. 11 and welcome the neighborhood into a bright, airy new space.

    Caryl Soriano, the network manager for 19 New York Public Library branches, including St. Agnes, said she is thrilled with the revamped building, at 444 Amsterdam Ave. between West 81st and 82nd streets. The pre-renovation building, which was originally funded by donations to the city from Andrew Carnegie, “was much darker, less open,” she said.

    Now, “the lighting is phenomenal.”

    A new reading room offers beanbag seats for the youngest patrons. Photo by Andrew Schwartz


    MORE PHOTOGRAPHS

    The first floor of the three-story library, with its raised ceilings and giant mural spelling “Imagine” in pale green and yellow block letters, now houses the children’s section. One of the most prominent new features is a reading room with the words “Story Hour” printed on the glass wall, and an area of boldly colored beanbags offers seats for the youngest library patrons.

    The latest titles populate the shelves with a brand new collection of books, but the library has also updated its technology.

    “We’re going to have 39 public service computers and 15 laptops,” Soriano said.

    She said that even though many people have home computers, they still rely on the library to point them toward the resources they need online—where to study for citizenship exams, how to search for jobs—and also to avoid the high cost of home printing.

    Even though many people have home computers, they still rely on the library to help them find resources and to print. Photo by Andrew Schwartz


    “There’s something about St. Agnes that is just magical,” said Council Member Gale Brewer, who helped allocate public funding for the $9.5 million renovation.

    “To have a landmark preserved like this, you think that there’s going to be many more generations using it.”

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Borough President Scott Stringer also helped fund the project.

    The restored library is now fully wheelchair accessible, from the ramp outside to the wide aisles and new elevator. It also features an updated adult literacy center and a 63-seat public program room.

    Margaret Willis, manager of the St. Agnes branch, said programs designed to get teens into reading would also continue.

    “We are going to start a book discussion with them and resume our gaming with the [Nintendo] Wii; we are going to try to start a Scrabble club,” she said.

    Soriano said that the most important part of the library is the sense of community, and that comes from the librarians and the books.

    “People still need that piece of paper or that book to hold in their hand, to feel that connection,” she said.

    St. Agnes has scheduled a grand opening celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 11, featuring free entertainment and programs for kids and adults.

    For more information, call 212-877-4380.

    http://westsidespirit.com/2010/02/04...ver/#more-4314

  9. #9

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    St. Agnes branch.


    Photo, original posting by Derek2k3

    St. Agnes Library

    444 Amsterdam Avenue (near @. 81st St.)
    New York, NY 10024-5506
    (212) 621-0619


    Beginning in 1893 as a parish library at St. Agnes Chapel on West 91st Street, the St. Agnes Branch also housed a small collection for the Library for the Blind. The following year, in 1894, the chapel's pastor, in order to keep pace with a rapidly growing community, expanded the library to neighborhood status. St. Agnes Free Library was chartered by the University of the State of New York and moved several times before its consolidation with The New York Public Library in 1901. In 1906, the St. Agnes Branch opened its doors in its present home on Amsterdam Avenue.

    The branch is in the vicinity of the American Museum of Natural History and near Central Park and many shops and restaurants. The three-story structure, featuring gracefully arched windows at the first and second floors and a strongly detailed roofline, was designed by Babb, Cook and Willard and erected with funds given to the city by Andrew Carnegie for the construction of branch libraries throughout the five boroughs.

    http://www.nypl.org/locations/st-agnes

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    Great pictures but come over to the forgotten borough Staten Island where the Borough President has a two million dollar vineyard in a public park - Snug Harbor - come over and film some Public Libraries - most that were built before 1929.

    With the possible exception of Baltimore, NYC public libraries are a disgrace on par with size and services with any public libraries of major cities from Atlanta to Boston. This is the real legacy politicians like Blumberg and Marinara are leaving to their granchildren in this city.

  11. #11
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    Interesting as St. Agnes had a prior renovation about seven years ago.

  12. #12
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    Default New York Society Library

    Where Fusty Is Fabulous

    By CHRISTOPHER GRAY


    Then


    Now

    THE oldest cultural institution in New York? Perhaps the Metropolitan Opera? Nope, 1880. The Metropolitan Museum? 1870. The New-York Historical Society? 1804.

    No, it appears to be an obscure little organization on East 79th Street called the New York Society Library, established in 1754.

    Even as a taxi-driving college dropout I was attracted to the library’s creaky, old-shoe character. I went in to join in the early 1970s wearing a ponytail and army pants. Behind the desk was Helen Ruskell, to me a bit scary, kind of a battle ax. She looked at me doubtfully, and with good reason: Since 1920 she had been a gatekeeper of an institution that predated the public library system by more than a century.

    The library was first quartered in City Hall, at Wall and Broad Streets, and it often claims to have been the first library of Congress, as congressmen borrowed its books when New York was the nation’s capital, from 1789 to 1790. Although Columbia College was also founded in 1754, I have discovered no other library, museum or similar organization predating this peculiar institution.

    By the mid-19th century the library flowered into a full-fledged literary organization, with lectures by Poe, Emerson and others, and in 1856 put up a new home on University Place, then a smart residential address.

    The new building had a double-height central reading room, flanked by alcoves with space for 100,000 books. In an address that year the librarian, John MacMullen, envisioned a great future for the library with “an ample Reading-Room, whither the Telegraph, on lightning wings, concentrates intelligence from all quarters of the world.” He was fired a few months later, after two years on the job.

    Members began moving uptown and having their books delivered, and the library’s literary aspirations faded. In 1937 it relocated to its present 1917 town house on East 79th Street, after shelves were installed in the gutted shell of the back half. That was the institution guarded by Miss Ruskell when I arrived, a wonderful but musty book-lending operation for polite private school families, although anyone could come to the first-floor reference room and consult any book.

    From 1997 to 2005, I served as a trustee, and began to explore the library with a proprietary interest. On the top floor, in the art book stacks, I found the remains of a small skylight for an interior room where during the building’s residential years the footman had cleaned riding boots.

    One of the great moments of my trusteeship came in 2000. Above the great stairway, a dropped ceiling covered an area where a large leaded skylight had been installed in 1917. It seemed likely that it had been junked during repairs in 1947, but when John McKeown, the building superintendent, peeled back some galvanized iron panels on the roof, there before us, Tut’s tomblike, was the dusty, damaged but intact skylight. As soon as I have $100,000, I’ll restore it.

    The New York Society Library is far from the institution of half a century ago. There is a baby-changing station; the card catalog has been computerized (over vehement objections from certain trustees); and members attend a dizzying array of book groups, lectures, writing clinics and similar events. You can follow the library on Twitter, Facebook or, if you’re one of those old-fashioned types, on its Web site: nysoclib.org.

    Anyone who can pay the $225 yearly household membership fee may climb what the architectural historian Henry Hope Reed described as “the only stairs in New York fit for a cardinal,” to the main hall and charging area. A broad open stairway leads past a pair of 19th-century marble sculptures of chesty maidens, one quite topless, and portraits of long-dead New Yorkers.

    On the second floor is an exhibition gallery and the members’ room, with French-style paneling from the 1917 town house. Magazines from the Harvard Business Review to Vanity Fair are arrayed among comfortable, snooze-quality chairs.

    You can check out a best seller. Or you can spend weeks in the stacks going through Time, The New Yorker and other magazines from the 1920s onward, all on open shelves. If old bookstores intoxicate you, you’ll need smelling salts when you walk down aisles of biography, history, fiction, art and other topics, average age measured not in years but decades. It is a temple to the hands-on book lover.

    Miss Ruskell never paid me any mind after I joined; at some point my ponytail was judged no threat. She died in 1977, and only much later did I learn that she had actually been a kind and sensitive person who loved flowers. The bouquet on the front desk is in her memory.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/re...ref=realestate

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    Jefferson Market Courthouse, now Library, with the Twin Towers in the distance:


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    A Nook for Books, Underground

    By COREY KILGANNON

    THEY call it the commuters’ secret, these denizens of the Terence Cardinal Cooke-Cathedral branch of the New York Public Library. It is located down a flight of stairs, just outside the turnstile entrance to the No. 6 train on the northwest corner of Lexington Avenue and 50th Street. The door is next to a MetroCard machine. There is no street-level sign announcing its existence.

    “If you don’t take the train, you’d probably never even know this place exists,” said Eric Velasquez, 47, who commutes from the Parkchester section of the Bronx to an administrative job at a Midtown bank and stops by frequently. But the location is also a plus. “It’s second nature to return the book,” Mr. Velasquez said, “because you can’t help but pass the library every morning and evening when you’re getting the train.”

    Then there are the people who assume the library is an outpost of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “They come in asking for help with the MetroCard machine,” said Anisha Huffman, the branch manager. “We do help them if we’re not too busy, and they also ask us for subway maps, so we keep a lot of them on hand.”

    Before the branch opened in 1992, the space housed a library, dating to 1887, for the Archdiocese of New York.

    At 2,100 square feet, it is the second smallest of the 90 branches in the New York system, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island (the Macombs Bridge Library in the Harlem River Houses is 700 square feet). It has little space for desktop computers, so there are 13 laptops. But the Cooke branch has the circulation activity of a much bigger library, officials said.

    Ms. Huffman, who commutes on the No. 6 from Upper Manhattan, said the patron pool seemed to reflect the ridership of a typical downtown train in Manhattan: an extreme diversity of ethnicity, wealth, education and occupation. You have the rich and the poor, the soiled and the well scrubbed, all pushed together. The branch also sees tourists from Midtown hotels who check e-mail, print airplane tickets and ask touristy questions.

    “It’s funny,” said Alvin Tulshi, a clerk at the library. “One question we get regularly is ‘Where’s the Barnes & Noble?’ ”

    When the branch is packed at lunch, one can almost picture the place swaying between stops. Like subway riders, the patrons keep their heads down, focused on their own business, but they don’t brook much nonsense.

    “Hey, can you keep it down — some people are trying to concentrate,” one patron barked at a reporter who was chatting with library employees and users. Others grunted support without looking up.

    The mix of material is tailored to commuters: a decent selection of business books and lots of page-turning novels.

    “Mostly, patrons don’t come here for serious research,” Ms. Huffman said. “A lot of them are looking to head home with books for their children or looking for leisure books.”

    Melissa Britt, 48, who manages a messenger service nearby, said she enjoyed the clubbiness of the branch.

    “You see the same people all the time,” Ms. Britt said. “You can’t find this place unless someone tells you about it.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/ny...l?ref=nyregion

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    Wow!


    A Stained Glass Reading Room at the Jefferson Market Library


    by benjamin waldman



    The Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library is one of the most spectacular branch libraries in New York City. The library ws constructed in 1877 as the Third Judicial District Courthouse with an adjoining jail. The building was designed by Frederick Clark Withers and Calvert Vaux in the Victorian Gothic style. Its name was derived from the market originally located on the site which was named after Thomas Jefferson in the early 1830s. A Douglas Smyth designed masonry market building was erected in 1883 next to the courthouse. Both it and the jail were demolished in 1927 for the construction of the Art Deco Women’s House of Detention.



    By 1945, Jefferson Market, no longer served as a courthouse and the building was utilized by various City agencies including the New York City Police Academy, which supposedly used it for riot training. The NYPD left the building in 1958, and within a year, pigeons and rats called the former Jefferson Market Courthouse home. The City wanted to knock the building down but local residents including, Margot Gayle, Philip Wittenberg, Lewis Mumford, E.E. Cummings and Maurice Evans protested this decision. In 1961, Mayor Robert F. Wagner announced that the building would be preserved by converting it into a branch of the New York Public Library. The library opened in 1967 after a two year conversion and restoration process. In 1973, the adjoining House of Detention was demolished and a community garden took its place.





    After viewing these stained glass windows, it is not surprising that the Jefferson Market Courthouse was named one of the ten most beautiful buildings in the United States by a group of architects in the 1880s.










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