Report from Tuesday’s court hearing on the Central Library Plan

new-york-public-library-reading-roomby The Campaign to Save the Library:

With our allies we prevailed in court on Tuesday. The temporary restraining order which prevents any demolition at the 42nd Street Library was extended!

Thanks to all of you who helped fill Judge Wooten’s courtroom for the NYPL hearings on Tuesday. Proceedings took most of the day. Arguments by Michael Hiller of Weiss and Hiller representing plaintives Edmund Morris et al. were heard first and after a break, Laura Barbieri from Advocates for Justice representing Michael Lewis et al. was heard. Both attorneys did a fine job against a phalanx of lawyers from NYPL, New York City and State.

To the surprise of everyone, including the judge, NYPL’s lawyer produced a Letter of Resolution from the NY State Historic Preservation Office, evidence they did not disclose to the opposing council. Evidently NYPL and NYSHPO have been working on this behind closed doors for months. The failure of New York State to stand up for the preservation of this masterpiece of architecture and engineering is disappointing.

The good result of the hearing is that NYPL agreed not to proceed with any demolition or construction at the 42nd Street Library and agreed not to sell either the Mid Manhattan Library or SIBL at least until January 28th, 2014. This agreement is legally binding. This insures that the new city administration will have the opportunity to re-examine this project and reassess the expenditure of $151 Million of taxpayer’s money.

Now we need to renew efforts to contact city officials to make sure they keep election promises to scrutinize the NYPL plan and fully explore more constructive alternatives that will preserve the 42nd Street stacks and keep the Mid-Manhattan as a stand-alone library.

More coverage of the court hearing can be found here:


For more information on the campaign to save the 42nd Street Library, visit

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1 Response

  1. Poo says:

    Is the issue the building or the service? Surely, if the service is available in other areas, another use for the building could be found. This is accomplished all over the world with buildings deemed historical or worthy of preservation. Surely this building qualifies on both counts. I guess I’m confused.

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