Why Is New York City Planning to Sell and Shrink Its Libraries?

Defend our libraries, don't defund them. . . . . fund 'em, don't plunder 'em

Mayor Bloomberg defunded New York libraries at a time of increasing public use, population growth and increased city wealth, shrinking our library system to create real estate deals for wealthy real estate developers at a time of cutbacks in education and escalating disparities in opportunity. It’s an unjust and shortsighted plan that will ultimately hurt New York City’s economy and competitiveness.

It should NOT be adopted by those we have now elected to pursue better policies.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Images and Links- The 53rd Street "replacement " for the Donnell Library to be opened Monday and What We Lost

Will the "replacement" for Donnell play "Kings Row" where Ronald Reagan awakens to find his legs missing
    and screams: "Where's the rest of me?"
This page will be updated-

The “53rd Street Library” that supposedly “replaces” the beloved and esteemed central destination Donnell Library is to be officially opened next week, nearly nine years after the surprise announcement that it had been suddenly and secretively sold to net what ultimately amounts to a pittance, probably less than $20 million.  It is also more than a year, about 15 months, since the luxury hotel, condos and restaurants all opened.

Here in this post we present images and links documenting the transition and loss:
    •    Images of the old Donnell Library and what we lost when it was wrested from us.
    •    Images of the poor excuse for its so-called “replacement.”
    •    Images of the appalling plutocratic squander that replaced Donnell, the luxury hotel, the luxury condominiums, and the luxury restaurants that replaced Donnell
A citizen protest is scheduled to coincide with Monday morning’s opening ceremonies so that the utter demise of a once great central library get swept under the rug with phone PR about its joke of a replacement.  SEE:
Protest At Opening of Unacceptable “Replacement” for Donnell Library
First a few valuable links to help understand what happened:
    •    Saturday, November 7, 2015, Priorities To Be Replicated?: Private Luxury Now Abounding Where Former Donnell Library Stood, A "Replacement" Library Is Nowhere In Sight

    •    Saturday, June 6, 2015, Real Estate Deal Revelations In Scott Sherman's New "Patience and Fortitude" About NYPL Central Library Plan Fight: Observer-Owning Kushner Family In At Outset of Donnell Sale

    •    Monday, May 27, 2013, More Thoughts On Valuation And What The NYPL Should Have Received As Recompense For The Public When It Sold The Donnell Library

    •    Friday, May 24, 2013, Previews Of The Proposed New Donnell Library: The NYPL Unveils Its Version Of The "Silk Purse" Libraries It Envisions For Our Future

    •    Friday, November 1, 2013, Inspiration For The Non-Library: The Genesis Of The Design For The Space That Won’t Be Able To Replace The Donnell Library
Notable:

•    The former Donnell held at least 300,000 books when the NYPL closed it (that’s by the NYPL’s own admission, we think it once held many more).  The “replacement” has 20,000 books.

•    The former Donnell was 97,000 square feet.  The “replacement,” just over one-quarter that, 28,000 square feet.

•    The former Donnell was five stories above ground, much ot it newly renovated, like the new teen center and state of the art media center.  It also had a marvelous new below ground auditorium.  The “replacement,” is largely underground and largely bookless.    The “replacement” has no media center, no teen center, no equivalent auditorium.

•    The children’s room is in the basement of the “replacement,” not so the old Donnell.

•    The Times article included an unheralded rejiggering of the sales figure for Donnell (a gross one) from what was previously released by the NYPL ($59 million) to a new figure,  $67.4 million.  This newly inflated figure probably includes in it a value for the library condo space the NYPL got back and/or the building out of its shall.  Not observed in the article is that for selling and shrink the extremely valuable Donnell and waiting nearly 9 years for this replacement the NYPL netted less than $20 million when all is said and done.  The new $23 million figure, with all the so far admitted cost overruns for outfitting the "replacement," is in the Times article, the first time is been officially printed.
•    One big surprise?  - When the first plans for the replacement were revealed the architect, confronted with that fact that books going up a wall several times a person's height did not comply with code or regulations, said that the books in the rendering were "conceptual", meant to give, for the interim, the "idea" of books.  -  Guess what?:  They actually did a tall wall with books that look dangerously out of reach.

•    When you enter the “replacement” library from outside the floor gratings creak
See:  The New York Times:
 •    N.Y. / Region-An Amphitheater. A Laptop Bar. It's a New York Library Like No Other.- Building Blocks, By David W. Dunlap, June 20, 2016.
The Times article is saddest is that the reporter, David Dunlap, despite alluding to the loss, the essential theft of Donnell in a plutocratic era, still feels compelled to write this as a good news, upbeat article, neglecting to say how insufficiently the "replacement" actually 'replaces" Donnell such the NYPL daren't actually call it "Donnell."- That’s despite the deceptively offered reassurance when Donnell was closed that the “replacement” would bear its name.

Dunlap’s article includes this quote, only parenthetically offered:
(There is a Building Blocks column to be written about secretive plutocrats buying investment aeries in the sky while public institutions are relegated to basements. Some other day.)
Meanwhile. this week's New York Magazine counseling about recommended summer excess counsels us to go have a cocktail at the Baccarat Hotel, price $500.  Which is to say that the NYPL sold and shrank Donnell for the cost of 4000 of these recommended plutocratic cocktails! 

SEE TWITTER:
Library sold4 price of 4000 lux hotel cocktails & NYPL dares not call replacement "Donnell"
Images of the old Donnell Library and what we lost when it was wrested from us.













Images of the poor excuse for its so-called “replacement.”






Images of the appalling plutocratic squander that replaced Donnell, the luxury hotel, the luxury condominiums, and the luxury restaurants that replaced Donnell.


















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