Of Libraries and Luxury Condos
Ever the contrarian, Malcolm Gladwell is once again championing an argument that goes against popular opinion. While a lot of New Yorkers are worried that Norman Foster’s redesign will ruin the beloved New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, Malcolm Gladwell could care less about preserving the “massive money sink of a mausoleum” and thinks we should tear the thing down and build condos, according to the Huffington Post.
“Every time I turn around, there’s some new extravagant renovation going on in the main building. Why? In my mind, the New York Public Library should be focused on keeping small libraries open, on its branches all over the city,” Mr. Gladwell said at a BookExpo America in New York forum.
Not content to let the attack go at that, he added: “luxury condos would look wonderful there. Go back into the business of reaching people who do not have access to books. And that is not on the corner of 42nd and Fifth.”
Affordable Housing or Lack Thereof
These last few years have been challenging ones for both the New York and Brooklyn public libraries. Anemic funding and dwindling resources have collided not only with the need to repair many aging structures, but also to retrofit them to meet changing technology requirements. The combination of lean budgets and growing needs have, without a doubt, created a mounting financial crisis.
The question is how to fix it. For the libraries, one of the more popular strategies of late has been selling buildings and land to developers in exchange for some cash and a space in the condo tower that will be built on the parcel. Recently, plans to sell two libraries in Brooklyn have stirred up controversy, with local residents protesting that the sales are a bad deal for both taxpayers and library patrons.
If you aren’t comfortable living in a church, that’s fine. But what about a library?
The Municipal Arts Society is leading the conversation on converting public libraries into apartment buildings, the Real Deal reports. President Vin Cipolla noted that the change in technology (read: Kindles and iPads) will lead to under-used, or even unused, library spaces.
An article in The Nation today exposes growing rifts over the future of the New York Public Library. The main concern involves its so-called Central Library Plan, an upcoming renovation that will remove the stacks from the central Stephen A. Schwarzman building at Bryant Park and store print books and other physical materials off-site. Patrons will also be allowed to borrow books from the central library and the newly opened rooms currently holding the stacks will be filled with computers and other media.
Have you ever rented or bought an apartment in New York, only to find out later that it was infested with bedbugs, ghosts, or satanic neighbors who want to impregnate you with the devil’s child? Don’t say the New York Public Library didn’t try to warn you.
We never can remember…is it “spring forward, fall back” or the other way around? Either way, we’ve been three hours late to every party since March and we’re just happy to have an extra hour to sleep in.
forgive and forget
Anthony Marx just started his new job at the New York Public Library in July, but he has already gotten himself into trouble by drunkenly careening around Harlem on a Sunday afternoon in his 2009 Audi. The best way for a public official to spend Marathon Day!
Following the success of a program this summer that allowed children to read their way out of their library fines, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Public Library president Anthony Marx announced yesterday that all fines would be forgiven for children under the age of 18, no additional reading necessary, thanks in large part to a $300,000 donation from McGraw-Hill.
Last night, Shea Hembrey took the stage at the New York Public Library as part of their Live! program to talk about the exhausting work of curating 100 different artists for his recent biennial, Seek. Mr. Hembrey, an artist himself, spoke of the process behind the grueling selection for the book, which features everything from studied portraits to abstract outsider performance art. “It was difficult to choose what to include, because sometimes I’d have to choose only one piece out of six, and then I’d get angry at myself.”
Of course, this frustration was probably multiplied 100 fold, since Mr. Hembrey created all the art — and the artists behind it — himself.
The New York Public Library is the last place where children must face the consequences of delinquency and (unlike in many New York restaurants) the expectation that they will sit politely and be quiet. Or so we thought! In a shocking display of kindness, the NYPL has pardoned some 143,000 children who have library fines Read More