NYC - East Village: New York Public Library, Tompkins Square Branch
The Tompkins Square Branch of the New York City Public Library dates back to 1887 when it opened as the Fifth Street Branch of the Aguilar Free Library. The branch relocated three times before moving to its present site and being incorporated into the NYPL's growing branch system.. The present building, a three-story limestone structure, located between A Street and Avenue B on the north side of Tompkins Square, was designed by Charles Follen McKim, of McKim, Mead and White. McKim was was responsible for many of the early libraries in New York, including 12 of the 65 branches financed by a $5.2 million endowment from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The Tompkins Square Branch, which takes its name, like the park, from Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of New York and Vice President under James Monroe, cost $135,028 to construct and furnish.
The library has a beautiful wood-paneled entryway, 16-foot ceilings, and the classic arched windows that are characteristic of all Carnegie libraries. Above the second story windows, a shield incorporates the seal of the City of New York, and rosettes commemorate Aldus Manutius and Christophe Plaintin Press, major figures in the history of printing.
The New york Public Library, Tompkins Square Branch, was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1999.