MAS Applauds the New York Public Library
May 9th, 2014, 12:02 pm
MAS applauds the decision by the NYPL to halt its plans to turn the stacks of the Steven A. Schwarzman Building into a lending library. The plans, which would have changed the nature of research that now occurs within the building also included the closing and sale of the Science, Industry and Business Library and Mid-Manhattan branch library. MAS believes that this is a great moment for the city; the new mayoral administration is working closely with the NYPL leadership to ensure the best service for the public: readers, students, scholars and everyone who loves the building.
The glorious Fifth Avenue building is one of the most important and beloved landmarks in the city. Designed by architects Carrere and Hastings and opened to the public in 1912, the Library was designated a NYC landmark in 1967 and several portions of the interior were designated in 1974. Any changes to the exterior or designated interiors must be approved by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. And submitting testimony to the LPC for the 2013 version of the project was MAS’s only official way to comment. Despite the lack of a public process, many groups, individuals, writers and politicians continued to speak out about the library’s plans. As MAS said in our Ideas for New York’s New Leadership, “…New Yorkers deserve an ongoing transparent planning process that clearly reveals the long-term benefits and detriments of selling off public assets…” NYPL’s ability to listen to an engaged public sets the right tone for the coming years.