proposals to sell and develop local library sites are wending through
the Brooklyn Public Library pipeline, and, predictably, opponents have
manned the barricades, citing the usual arguments about selling off
public land to rapacious developers.
for a change, the plans look promising. There is good and bad
development, after all, and sometimes, with foresight and some help from
City Hall, a community asset like a public library can anchor positive
plan envisions updating, but shrinking, a branch in Brooklyn Heights
built in the 1960s. The other overhauls a popular, decrepit branch, from
the 1970s, in Sunset Park. Both involve housing, a fair chunk of it
subsidized, mostly on top of new storefront libraries.
reason for skepticism. In 2007, the New York Public Library sold off
its Donnell site in Midtown Manhattan for what now seems like a song.
Library authorities also cooked up a scheme
to pool resources and cash in on the property values of the
Mid-Manhattan branch and a science library at 34th Street, consolidating
both in the 42nd Street building by demolishing its historic stacks.
That derailed last year in the face of stiff protests and runaway cost
estimates. So did a separate proposal to demolish a century-old branch
near Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Read more...