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Upcoming Events

Note: If you require an auxiliary aid or service in order to attend a DORIS event, please contact our Disability Service Facilitator.

Municipal Library Monthly Book Club



New York 2140
By Kim Stanley Robinson
Wednesday, September 6th from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m

Imagine New York underwater in the future?  The novel “New York 2140” by Kim Stanley Robinson takes the reader to New York City in the year 2140.  Much of the city is flooded and underwater, affected by a global warming crisis.  For one particular group of characters, there are many challenges to be faced.  Join us on Wednesday, September 6 at 1:00, 31 Chambers Street, Room 112.


Unlikely Historians: Materials collected by NYPD surveillance teams, 1960-1975
September 7, 2017 - February 28, 2018
31 Chambers Street, NYC 10007 - First Floor Gallery

For more than a century, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) conducted surveillance of individuals and infiltrated organizations challenging the status quo. At different periods, the focus has been socialists, the German American Bund, anarchists, labor unions, and communists. During the 1960s and 1970s, they investigated organizations including the Communist Party, Black Panthers, Nation of Islam, The American Renaissance Party, Women Strike for Peace and Youth Against War and Fascism, among others. The records created by the surveillance teams and the materials they collected during the course of surveillance activities now provide unique documentation of one of the most turbulent eras in the City’s and nation’s history. Photographs and objects displayed in the new Municipal Archives exhibit address subjects such as the Vietnam War, the nascent environmental movement, racial and gender discrimination, fair housing, workers’ rights, as well as global issues such as independence and sovereignty, the spread of communism, and poverty.

Open for viewing through February 28  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.



Living in The City: An Inside Look at Four Decades of Changing Housing in New York City
Photoville, September 2017
Brooklyn Bridge Park

Featuring: Photographers employed by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and predecessor agencies.

New York City is constantly changing. Cycles of growth, decay, and renewal have altered the bricks and mortar of its physical environment and the people who live here. “Living in the City” vividly illustrates how the housing landscape in New York City changed during the four decades from 1961 to 2001. Selections from more than 150,000 historical photographs, recently acquired by the New York City Municipal Archives from the Department of Housing, Preservation & Development (HPD), illustrate both the human and physical aspects of these changes.

For more information, visit Photoville.


Past Events

Explore the Beaux Arts building that the Department of Records and Information Services gets to call home! Municipal Archives photographer Matthew Minor will take you on a behind-the-design tour of early 20th century architecture - showcasing the grand staircases, sculptures and mosaics by preeminent artists of the period.  Building Tours are held at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. Our Commissioner will also be offering one group a tour through the special collections of the Archives and Library. The Commissioner Tour will be held at 5:00pm.

Archives Week - New Amsterdam Stories: A Digital Dig to Link 17th Century Records Between Amsterdam and NYC

Join the New York City Municipal Archives for a presentation on New Amsterdam Stories, a project linking archives of Amsterdam and NYC. Explore intersections between the collections of the New York City Municipal Archives and the City of Amsterdam Archives, and discover stories about people, places, and events of early Manhattan. Learn about 17th century records held by two of the world’s largest municipal archives, including court minutes, ordinances, marriage contracts, loan agreements, notarial registers, and more.

Strangers in the West: Book Talk with Linda Jacobs  

"Strangers in the West" is the first and only detailed study of the early immigrant community in the Lower West Side tenements. Dr. Jacobs spent a decade researching the stories of this community and will speak on her research process in addition to reading selections from the book. 

Centering Black Women: Race in the Woman Suffrage Movement
Understanding the suffrage movement and the place of women of color in it is also an important task for us as we head toward the 2017 centennial of women voting in New York State. Voting rights were as vital to black women, but knowledge of their activism is scant. Most important for us today is putting black women suffragists in the center of the story, learning their stories as much as possible about their points of view.
Susan Goodier, Ph.D., is a scholar who focuses on U.S. women's activism from the period of the Civil War through the First World War. She holds master’s degrees in Gender History and Women’s Studies, and a doctorate in Public Policy History, with subfields in International Gender and Culture and Black Women's History. She teaches at SUNY Oneonta, and serves as book review editor for theNew York History journal. 


An Evening with Anthony Flint
Anthony Flint (, fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy ( and author of "Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City," will reflect on Jane Jacobs' role in fighting the Lower Manhattan Expressway, and how she and courageous New Yorkers changed the course of citizen participation in urban planning.



Bronx residents past and present share many of the same concerns: education, health care, housing, transit and infrastructure. This exhibit explores the variety of ways in which City government both guided and responded to the evolution of the Bronx from a rural enclave to a burgeoning metropolis, through cycles of growth and renewal.
 Municipal Library Reading Group: Thieves of Book Row by Travis McDade
 Wednesday, January 7th from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
 Municipal Library Reading Group: A History of New York in 101 Objects by Sam Roberts
 Wednesday, December 3rd from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
 Film Screening: From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale
 Monday, November 17th and Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. 
 Hostos Community College: Its Unique History and Place in the South Bronx Community since 1968
Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
 Municipal Library Reading Group: Island of Vice by Richard Zacks
 Wednesday, October 1st at 1 p.m.
 Municipal Library Reading Group: The Alienist by Caleb Carr
 Wednesday, September 3rd, from 1 PM to 2 PM
 Municipal Library Reading Group: A Mayor's Life: Governing New York's Gorgeous Mosaicby David Dinkins
 Wednesday, August 6th, from 1 PM to 2 PM
In August the monthly reading group will discuss the autobiography of New York's 106th mayor, David Dinkins. Open to all interested readers.
 Fredericka Mandelbaum and the 19th Century Underworld
 Thursday, July 17th, from 4 PM to 6 PM
Contemporary newspapers identified the “greatest crime promoter” in 19th century New York City as a woman. Fredericka Mandelbaum created a criminal empire on the Lower East Side while also working hand in glove with Tammany Hall and passed as a respected member of her community. In 1884 she fled to Canada with what was thought to be $1 million.

Fredericka “Marm” Mandelbaum arrived in Manhattan from Germany in 1849. “Marm” Mandelbaum also known as “Queen of Fences” and “Old Mother” became a notorious fence (receiver of stolen goods) and created a criminal empire on the lower east side. According to the newspapers of the day she was “the greatest crime promoter of all time”. Her criminal activities were very fruitful and she became a respected member of the community donating money to her synagogue, and employing members of the community in her criminal enterprises. Tammany Hall politicians recognized her potential in bringing in the Jewish vote in the 13th Ward (long before women won the right to vote). She escaped to Ontario, Canada with an estimated $1 million when she was due to stand trial in 1884. She died there in 1894 and her death made international headlines.
 City Hall Library Book Club: Discussion on Island in the Center of the World by Russell Shorto
 Wednesday, July 9th, from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
 Night at the Museums
 Tuesday, June 24th, from 4 PM to 8 PM
 City Hall Library Book Club: Discussion on Island in the Center of the World by Russell Shorto
 Wednesday, July 9th, from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
African American Women and the Military: World War II and Beyond
African American women have served the country in both active duty and as civilian volunteers throughout U.S. history. When men were called to war, African American women rose to the occasion and worked as spies, nurses, joined the workforce in positions that had typically been held by men, stretched meals under rationing, volunteered for active military duty and more. This exhibit highlights evidence of these women in the collections of the NYC Department of Records’ Municipal Archives.
Many African American women served in the Civil Defense Program which is featured in the exhibition. The program was established with Executive Order 8757, signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on May 20, 1941. New York City’s Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia was appointed the first director of this new Office of Civilian Defense. The office worked with states to develop a cohesive program that would not only educate and prepare the public for war on U.S. soil, but would orchestrate efforts to help troops overseas, through movements such as “Meatless Mondays” or “Victory Gardens.” Women were active volunteers in this program. By the time the 1963 nuclear test-ban treaty between the United States and Soviet Union was signed, civil defense activities had waned and were deemed unnecessary.
The exhibit includes telegrams from African American women’s groups pledging their allegiance to the war effort during a time when African Americans were being discriminated against on the home front. There are letters signed by Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph and Eleanor Holmes Martin. Along with documents you will find stories in photographs and videos about these brave women.
The history of New York City government comes alive in the Department of Records Visitor Center and Media Room. Long-hidden treasures from the Archives and City Hall Library are featured in ever-changing exhibits that highlight 400 years of city history.
The newest Visitor Center exhibition highlights historical moments in the New York City Jewish experience from 1654 to the present. Original documents, artifacts and evocative photographs are used throughout the exhibit to illustrate the long history of these men and women.
"How'm I Doin?": An Exhibition Highlighting the Mayoralty of Edward I. Koch
June 20, 2013 thru September 13, 2013
New York City has had its share of extravagant personalities, and the late former Mayor Edward I. Koch is certainly among the most colorful and memorable. But beneath the glib exterior, Koch was a brilliant politician whose accomplishments during his three-term, 12-year mayoralty (1978-1989), brought New York back from the brink.
The exhibit will be on view until July 31st at the Department of Records Visitor Center, 31 Chambers Street, NY, NY 10007. It is free and open to the public Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Wheelchair accessible entrance on Reade Street between Centre and Elk Streets.