More than a decade ago, The New York Public Library looked at the changing needs of our patrons and realized bold action would be required. Particularly, we recognized that we needed to improve the programs we offer in midtown. Here, at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 40th Street, New Yorkers from all boroughs come to use our largest circulating collection at the Mid-Manhattan Library; across the street, researchers from all over the world use the amazing collections in the iconic building behind the lions, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building while local, national and international visitors browse our many exhibits.
To mollify a chorus of protests from some of the intellectual elite of the city and the nation, Tony Marx, president of the New York Public Library (NYPL), got Abby and Howard Milstein to put up the money to make space at 42nd Street to store 3.3 million volumes of 4.5 million planned for remote storage. It was an expensive but responsive move, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy Ada Louise Huxtable, the grand dame of architectural critics who writes for Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ).