Huffpost Books

New York's Most Famous Library Will No Longer Be Gutted From The Inside

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY RENOVATION
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Print

The New York Public Library has officially withdrawn from plans to renovate its flagship building on Fifth Avenue.

The New York Times reports the decision follows a wave of public opposition against the project and a recent study indicating the renovation would cost more than the original $300 million price tag.

new york public library renovation
An undated rendering of the renovation plan. (AP Photo/New York Public Library from dbox / Foster + Partners)

“When the facts change, the only right thing to do as a public-serving institution is to take a look with fresh eyes and see if there is a way to improve the plans and to stay on budget,” NYPL president Tony Marx told the paper Wednesday.

Since its inception, the controversial proposal to transform the main library into a circulating library -- and by doing so remove millions of books from the iconic research building -- has sparked backlash from preservationists and novelists who claim the renovation would destroy the integrity of the building.

new york public library renovation
An undated rendering of the renovation plan. (AP Photo/New York Public Library from dbox / Foster + Partners)

Last summer, a petition aiming to prevent the plan was organized, with writers including Salman Rushdie and Mario Vargas Llosa signing their name to the cause. And during his campaign last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke out from the library's steps to speak against the renovation.

In February, the debate was reignited after the wildly popular Humans of New York photographer, Brandon Stanton, posted a photo of a man condemning the renovation.

But despite the criticism, library officials maintained the project would modernize the library and provide increased digital access to its resources.

“The public should have more access to this, arguably the most beautiful library building in the world, certainly the most famous,” Marx, who recently met with de Blasio to discuss the renovation's fate, told Bloomberg last month. “We aim to massively increase our after-school programs, our English language instruction and citizenship instruction, our basic computer skills and coding classes.”

Around the Web

The 42nd Street Library Renovation | The New York Public Library

Humans Of NY Post Reignites Debate Over New York Public Library

NYPL Renovation Stuck In Limbo, Awaits A Go From De Blasio ...

Humans of New York photo sparks debate over NYPL renovation

NYPL Renovation | New York Public Library - The Real Deal

Lawsuit Questions NYPL Overhaul

Mayor de Blasio's allies call for shelving $150 million allotted for Fifth Ave ...

NYC Library Plan Pits de Blasio Vow Against Mayoral Reality (1)