(Long Island City, NY – September 24, 2019) Queens Public Library (QPL) President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott, Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin, New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Lorraine Grillo, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, New York State Senator Michael Gianaris, New York State Assemblywoman Catherine T. Nolan, New York State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and hundreds of customers, QPL staff and volunteers, community leaders and members of the public today celebrated the grand opening of Hunters Point Library.
Located at 47-40 Center Boulevard and designed by Steven Holl Architects, the $41.5 million library brings to 66 the total number of QPL locations across the borough. It is the first new branch since the completion of Long Island City Library in 2007, and New York City’s 217th branch library.
The opening ceremony held this afternoon featured students from PS/IS 78 greeting guests in several languages plus the Hunters Point Community Middle School band entertaining guests inside. A boat from the New York Fire Department (FDNY) provided a water show from the nearby shoreline before the traditional ribbon cutting at the library’s main entrance.
The 22,000-square-foot building is 82 feet high and oriented vertically, with interior stairs that rise from an open-spaced entry through six levels up to a rooftop bleacher-style seating and reading area. The building’s concrete shell is load-bearing to allow for a large open atrium in the interior, with cantilevered floors extending from the ends of the building containing adult, teen and children’s reading areas, as well as a cyber center and a ground floor meeting room that can seat up to 140 people.
The concrete structure of the building is exposed and aluminum painted, giving the exterior a subtle sparkle. Inside, warm bamboo creates an inviting social space, open to the community and offering engaging spaces for all ages. Natural light enters through the large irregularly shaped glass cut-outs in the sides of the building offering spectacular views of the East River, the United Nations and the east side of Manhattan on one side and the growing community of Long Island City on the other. The project also includes a separate structure for New York State Parks staff, plus landscaping along North 47th Road adjacent to the site. The building is located on a redeveloped brownfield site and is designed to achieve LEED Silver certification for environmental sustainability.
“Hunters Point now has a library that matches the vibrancy of the community. With an early childhood play area, environmental center, and books in many languages, it will serve as a resource for generations to come,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We are incredibly grateful for the teamwork, talent and tenacity of library staff, government agencies, elected officials and the community that brought this spectacular building to life,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “As remarkable as this building is, there is far more to a library than its design and physical structure that makes it soar. It is the experience of coming to a place that welcomes you, no matter who you are or where you are from, and interacting with other people who are striving for something more, and staff who want only to help. That is the promise we are committed to fulfilling not only at Hunters Point Library, but also at every location across our system.”
“This beautiful new library will serve as a cornerstone for New York City’s waterfront and the Queens community for generations,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin. “With its breathtaking exterior and awe-inspiring interior, Hunter’s Point Library reflects the diverse community it represents and will serve as an inspiration for public buildings across the country.”
"It is incredible to see the Hunters Point Library, an architectural gem that is home to more than 50,000 books, rise from a brownfield site," said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. "Long Island City is fast becoming a thriving cultural scene that draws visitors from across the City and world. We're thrilled to deliver our promise to the LIC community to bring a state-of-the-art library, providing residents a place to gather, learn, and connect with their community.”
“We’re thrilled to be part of the expansion of the Queens library system to a new area, a growing and thriving community that will now benefit from one of the country’s greatest library systems,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “This building is an example of outstanding design in public architecture and will be a notable landmark for decades to come.”
“The new Hunters Point Library is both a stunning architectural marvel and a state-of-the-art hub of much-needed library services for the residents of western Queens,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Today’s opening of this imaginative facility in this fast-growing neighborhood finally gives Hunters Point families a beautiful new beacon of learning, literacy and culture to call their own.”
“Our new Hunters Point Library is a magnificent addition to our Queens Public Library system and a resounding victory for our Long Island City community. We have had the vision for this aspirational design for nearly 20 years, since I was a staffer at the Queens Public Library. We never gave up hope or settled for second best. And we refused to shortchange quality design. I am proud to have allocated over $10 million toward this state-of-the-art library,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “This is the single most important project of my life so far and it will forever serve as a source of civic pride. It is incredible to know that generations of children and families will benefit because of our hard work. We have built one of the finest buildings in all of New York City right here in Queens. I want to thank everyone who made this moment possible, including those like Fausta Ippolito, who are no longer with us, but whose love for this library sustained me in this fight.”
“It is so important for our communities to have access to their local public libraries to foster their imagination and envision infinite possibilities. I’m overjoyed that the Queens Public Library at Hunter’s Point is now open, and I hope that as the Hunter’s Point community continues to grow, this library becomes a staple for generations to come,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.
“At long last, Hunters Point Library will finally open as the jewel of our neighborhood we envisioned when we first drew the plans. I’m proud to have provided support to make this project a reality and look forward to our community enjoying it for years to come," said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris.
“I am happy to have secured some state funding for this library as I have for all the libraries and adult learning centers in my district” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. “Today the Hunters Point Library will finally become a long-promised resource for all. My thanks to leaders who advocated for this over many years, including former CB#2 Chairman Joe Conley and all CB#2 members, former Queens library trustee George Stamatiades, former Port Authority Chair Chris Ward, former Borough Presidents Claire Shulman the late Helen Marshall, former city councilmembers Eric Gioia and the late Walter McCaffrey, current trustee Debbie King and of course Mark Christie, President of the Friends of the Hunters Point Library. Many hands were involved with this complicated project. A big thank you also to local advocates and of course to Commissioner Lorraine Grillo who finally got our library completed. It has been an honor to play a small part in seeing this finally open.”
“Libraries provide vital entry points to civic engagement and upward mobility,” Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas said. “That is why, I was proud to allocate $10,000 to support the Queens Public Libraries programs and mission to serve and inspire the community of Queens. It is this organization’s vast efforts that will change the future of Queens.”
“Long Island City is a neighborhood with tremendous strengths, and today we are thrilled to celebrate the opening of an incredible library that will offer dynamic jobs, and provide programming for residents in this community,” said NYC Economic Development Corporation President and CEO James Patchett. “I would like to acknowledge our city partners Queens Public Library, DDC and Council Member Van Bramer for their commitment to bringing this project to fruition.”
“Queens is a geographical gateway for generations of Americans and libraries are an essential entryway for an individual’s future personal and professional achievement,” said Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and CEO & President-Designate Eric Gertler. “They are more than places to borrow books — they are community meeting points and educational spaces that provide a wealth of resources to all New Yorkers. The new Hunters Point Library is the branch this community has long-deserved, and with its opening today, the Queens Public Library is declaring itself ready to meet the 21 Century needs of the customers it serves.”
“It is an honor to imagine and realize this community library, a free open public building where people can interact across generations. We hope it is a gift to this great city and its future children,” said Steven Holl, Principal of Steven Holl Architects.
The New York Times recently called the brand new structure “one of the finest public buildings New York has produced this century.” Part of the Queens Public Library system, the new branch is one of 66 locations across the borough and offers a collection of more than 50,000 books, periodicals and other materials in several languages, including more than 2,800 items in Chinese and over 2,200 in Spanish. The library provides numerous educational and cultural programs for people of all ages and includes QPL’s first-ever environmental center.
The new library will have 22 staff members, including three Children’s Librarians, three Adult Librarians, and one Teen Librarian. To accommodate the growing number of families with young children in the neighborhood, the Children’s Room features an early childhood area with toys and board books. The Library will also offer robust programming for its young visitors and their caregivers. The new library includes a Percent for Art installation by artist Julianne Swartz. Entitled Four Directions from Hunters Point, it is comprised of four circular portals in various positions around the building with lenses and reflective materials that disorient viewers and offer abstract views of the site and surrounding areas. The portals are intended to mirror the fundamental purpose of the library, where visitors seek out information but then find themselves transported to new realities with varying perspectives.
Both the design of the library and the Percent for Art installation have reviewed awards for Excellence in Design from the NYC Public Design Commission.
Hunters Point Library was designed by Steven Holl Architects under the Department of Design and Construction’s Design and Construction Excellence program, which pre-selects and pre-qualifies design firms to work on certain DDC public buildings projects. The program is designed to decrease the amount of time required for DDC to procure design services, while ensuring the highest levels of quality and professionalism in construction projects managed by the agency. Landscape design was by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
The general contractor for the project was Triton Structural; structural engineering services were by Robert Silman & Associates; mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering was by ICOR Associates, Inc.; lighting was designed by L’Observatoire International; LEED status was by ADS Engineering; and civil engineering services were provided by Langan Engineering & Environmental Services.
Hunters Point Library Hours:
Monday: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Tuesday: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Thursdays: Noon – 8:00 PM
Fridays: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturdays: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.
About Queens Public Library
Queens Public Library is one of the largest and busiest public library systems in the United States, dedicated to serving the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in the country. An independent, non-profit organization founded in 1896, Queens Public Library offers free access to a collection of more than 5 million books and other materials in multiple languages, technology and digital resources, and more than 87,500 educational, cultural, and civic programs a year. It consists of 66 locations, including branch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology lab, two universal pre-kindergartens, and two teen centers.