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Renovation of Steinway Library to Add Elevator and New Entrance for Full ADA Accessibility

August 6, 2018

Queens Library: Ewa Kern Jedrychowska
DDC: Ian Michaels

Astoria, NY – Queens Library President Dennis Walcott and NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Lorraine Grillo joined Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Council Member Costa Constantinides, State Senator Jose Peralta and Assembly Member Aravella Simotas today to break ground on a $3.9 million renovation of the Steinway Library.

The project, which is being managed by DDC for Queens Library, will add an elevator and new entrance ramp for full accessibility, revamp the building’s second floor and cellar and address external issues to ensure the building’s long-term structural integrity. The project will begin this month and be completed in summer 2019, with a full reopening of the library expected in fall 2019.

STEAM Middle School June 2018
Breaking ground for the Steinway Library renovation are (l to r) Council Member Costa Constantinides, Queens Library President Dennis Walcott, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Borough President Melinda Katz, Community Board 1 Chair Marie Torniali and DDC Deputy Commissioner Tom Foley

“With these renovations, Queens Library’s Steinway branch will be more technologically efficient, eco-friendly and accessible to everyone,” said Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “Our patrons deserve no less, and we are grateful to Mayor de Blasio, Assemblywoman Simotas, Borough President Katz and Council Member Constantinides for securing the funds that will help Queens Library transform lives and create inviting spaces where people can learn, discover and grow.”

“Our growing communities deserve best-in-class civic and educational institutions,” said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. “By funding accessibility and structural improvements to Steinway Community Library, we’re making an investment in Astoria’s future.”
“A strong public library system indicates that a community values learning and future opportunities for its young people,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “This project will ensure that Steinway Library remains an enduring resource for Astoria, one that’s accessible to everyone as a center of culture and education. The Queens Library under President Dennis Walcott is investing heavily in its future and DDC is proud to be part of that effort.”

“Queens Library is one of our borough’s most treasured institutions, and this $3.9 million renovation will enhance Steinway Library’s long-term structural stability and accessibility to people of all abilities,” said Borough President Melinda Katz. “Astoria is an ever-growing community of families, who will now be able to enjoy a fully accessible, state-of-the-art community library as a center of learning, literacy and culture for residents of all ages.”

“Steinway Library is finally getting the investment it deserves to become an ADA-compliant, technologically advanced and energy efficient facility for our ever-growing community,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “I take great pride in helping fund renovations to this library, where multiple generations come to share that common mission to never stop learning. Thanks to the Mayor’s Office, Borough President Katz and Queens Library for your partnership in giving the Steinway Library new life.”

“Our libraries serve as a vital lifeline for so many Queens residents, especially for our immigrant neighbors. I am pleased to join so many leaders in announcing these needed improvements,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris.

“Residents in our community love this branch of the library and the renovations will make it even more appealing,” said Assembly Member Aravella Simotas. “Many thanks to the Queens Borough President for supporting this modernization and kudos to Councilmember Constantinides for funding the installation of an elevator, so that everyone has access and the ability to enjoy all that the library has to offer. As an Astoria native who grew up visiting the Steinway branch, and as a mother who regularly brings my own daughter to this neighborhood institution, I am thrilled with these upgrades.”

The Steinway Library was designed by architect Adolph Goldberg and finished construction in 1955. Located at 21-43 31st Street in Astoria, the 12,500-square-foot building includes a cellar and two above-grade levels on a 7,600-square-foot lot with a landscaped rear garden. The building was designed in a mid-century modern style with flat roofs, roman brick in stacked and running bond patterns, horizontal bands of windows and limestone and aluminum trim elements.

During construction, a new passenger elevator will be installed to serve all three levels of the building, from the cellar to the second floor. A new ADA-accessible ramp will be added at the library’s main entrance on 31th street, along with a new book sorting area. The second floor will be renovated and new offices will be created in the cellar for staff.

The new external elevator tower will be constructed in the building’s rear courtyard with steel tube framing with an aluminum framed curtain wall enclosure. The enclosure is made up of translucent glass panels to provide diffused light and views into the courtyard.

On the outside of the building a new roof will be installed, masonry will be upgraded and the water tightness of the building will be addressed to eliminate leaks to the interior. To increase efficiency, energy efficient insulated glazing will be used at the new entrance and the roof will receive new insulation.

STEAM Middle School June 2018
An artist’s rendering of the future elevator shaft placed in the rear garden to preserve interior space at the Steinway Library in Astoria

The branch will be closed for approximately one week beginning Monday, August 13 for preliminary work related to the project. The building is expected to close again this fall until the work is completed in fall of 2019. Mobile library service will be provided in the interim.

The Steinway Library renovation was designed by Huff + Gooden Architects under DDC’s Design and Construction Excellence 2.0 program, which pre-selects and pre-qualifies design firms that DDC works with on projects with construction budgets of up to $50 million. 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. The contractor is a local firm, XBR, Inc. headquartered on 19th Avenue in Astoria.


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

About Queens Library
Founded in 1896, Queens Library is an independent, nonprofit corporation that serves a population of 2.3 million in the most ethnically diverse county in the United States. With 65 locations, Queens Library is one of the highest circulating library systems in the nation and among the busiest in the world. Visit online at: