Tag Archives: library

Jefferson Market Courthouse

Jefferson Market Courthouse (bounded by Sixth Avenue, Greenwich Avenue and W 10th Street) was completed in 1874, designed by Frederick Clarke Withers. The former Third Judicial District Courthouse is now the Jefferson Market branch of the New York Public Library.

The style is American High Victorian Gothic, faced in red brick with black brick and yellow Ohio sandstone trim. The sculpture in the pediment depicts the trial scene from “The Merchant of Venice.” The clock/bell tower originally served also as a fire watch tower (the stairstepped tower windows reveal a spiral staircase within).

The court moved out in 1958; local preservationists campaigned to have the building saved as a library, and the New York Public Library agreed in 1961. The building reopened in 1967.

Source: “Guide to New York City Landmarks, Fourth Edition,” New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

This is where Harry Thaw was tried for the assassination of prominent architect Stanford White. Coincidentally, White’s firm – McKim, Mead and White – designed 11 branches of the New York Public Library.

Jefferson Market Courthouse Vital Statistics
  • Location: 425 Sixth Avenue at W 10th Street
  • Year completed: 1874
  • Architect: Frederick Clarke Withers
  • Floors: 6
  • Style: American High Victorian Gothic
  • New York City Landmark: 1969 (part of Greenwich Village Historic District)
  • National Register of Historic Places: 1972
Jefferson Market Courthouse Suggested Reading

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Morgan Library

The Morgan Library and Museum on Madison Avenue comprises three classical, landmark buildings and a fourth, modern addition that joins the three into a complex that’s doubled in size.

The original buildings are J. P. Morgan, Jr.’s House (1853, originally built for Isaac N. Phelps), on the SE corner of Madison Avenue and E 37th Street; J. Pierpont’s Private Library (1906, designed by Charles McKim of McKim, Mead & White), mid-block on E 36th Street between Madison and Park Avenues; and J. Pierpont’s Private Library Addition (1928, designed by Benjamin Wistar Morris), on the NE corner of Madison Avenue and E 36th Street. The library addition was built on the site of J. Pierpont Morgan, Sr.’s mansion, after his death. (J. Pierpont Morgan, Jr. opened the library to the public in 1924.)

In 2006, the museum built a further addition, planned by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners. The modern addition connected the three original buildings and also filled the lot east of the 1853 brownstone.

In 2010, the museum restored the original library – the McKim building – to its original splendor under guidance of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners. The interior restoration included new lighting and the re-installation of the original chandeliers, deep cleaning, and replacement of plexiglass exhibit covers with non-glare acrylic. You can see before and after photos of the interior here.

Incidentally, the lionesses guarding the Morgan Library entrance on E 36th Street – Prudence and Felicity – were carved by Edward Clark Potter, the same sculptor who created the New York Public Library lions Patience and Fortitude.

Morgan Library Vital Statistics
  • Location: Madison Avenue between E 36th and E 37th Streets
  • Year completed: 1853 (house), 1906 (private library), 1928 (addition), 2006 (second addition)
  • Architect: McKim, Mead & White (private library), Benjamin Wistar Morris (addition), Renzo Piano Building Workshop (second addition)
  • Style: Italian Renaissance (private library), Florentine Renaissance (addition)
  • New York City Landmark: 1966
  • National Register of Historic Places: 1966
Morgan Library Suggested Reading

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