Can you believe this beautiful Victorian Gothic building located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, located at 425 Avenue of the Americas and 10th Street, is a branch of the New York Public Library? (All photos in this post will enlarge, for easier viewing, if clicked on)
Placards on the outside wall of the building
The Jefferson Market Library has a long and varied history. It was built in 1876 and served as both the Third Judicial District courthouse, and then solely as women's court until 1932.
The 172 foot high turret of the building has clocks on all four sides, and was used as fire watch tower, as it once towered over the Greenwich area as the neighborhood's highest edifice. The bell that summoned the firemen at the time still hangs in the tower. There were many high profile trials that took place here, including the trail of Harry Thaw in 1906, for the assassination of an acclaimed architect Stanford White. It was a highly salacious trail of passion of the time, which you can read about on this link, as well as more interesting history about the building.
By 1945, through redistricting, court was no longer held at Jefferson Market, and the building was used by various other agencies, including the police academy. The academy left in 1958, leaving the courthouse empty destined for demolition. A group of community preservationists encouraged public outcry, and led to its remodel and reuse as a branch of the New York Public Library. In 1961, the New York Public library agreed to the plan and architect Giorgio Cavaglieri was brought in to restore the exterior and redesign the building's interior for its new use.
The library opened in 1967, and the police court became the Children's Reading Room.
The Civil Court became the Adult Reading Room.
The building retains much of its interior architectural charm.
Some of the magnificent period stained glass windows throughout the library.
If you remember, if you read this post, e.e cumming is one of my favorite poets, and when I was high school age I was thrilled to learn that he lived for forty years in a little row house in a blind alley across the street from the Jefferson Market, from 1923 until his death in 1962. Cummings was one of the preservationists that worked hard to save the Jefferson Market and have it turned into a library, although he did not live to see it happen.
Whenever I visit Greenwich Village I try to make a visit to Cumming's former home, just for nostalgia's sake. I wonder who lives there now?
If you believe in "orbs" then this photo of e.e.cummings former home shows that his spirit may live there still!
In fact, I found it a little eerie when just a few blocks away I saw this balloon delivery man walking down the street....
.....I blurred his face for privacy. I could not help but think of e. e. cummings poem "In Just, " which you can read on this Poetry Foundation link.
It is wonderful to wander around the streets of Greenwich Village and see all of its eclectic architecture from different eras.
I loved how the Vespa parked in front on this pink hued house matched the house's turquoise blue shutters,and had a pink seat!
Also the vintage painted sign on the side of this building with its long ago exchange name telephone number! I remember when my childhood telephone number began with "Hickory"!
My stroll through Greenwich Village also brought back many memories. There is a timeless feel to much of this neighborhood, even if expensive condos, and big box and chain stores are slowly edging their way into it. Thankfully, there are still many independently owned and operated stores, bookstores, restaurants, cafes and boutiques still in business and it is a wonderful area to wander around and look for surprises. Perhaps on a visit you will also see a balloon man on a "mud-luscious, puddle wonderful" day?
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