2016-10-05 / Front Page

Library Nears Completion

Hunters Point Library Revealed
BY THOMAS COGAN


Even in its unfinished state, the Hunters Point Public Library shows much of Steven Holl’s architectural design. The library should be ready for admiration and 
Photo Tom Even in its unfinished state, the Hunters Point Public Library shows much of Steven Holl’s architectural design. The library should be ready for admiration and Photo Tom The Queens Public Library at Hunters Point has been years in the making and has suffered occasions when it seemed it might never become reality. A look at what has now been built on Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue, near the East River, reveals a structure resembling the one in the idealized illustrations that appeared in the media in years past.

Architect Steven Holl’s building is in the nearly-final stages of construction and should be celebrated at opening day festivities next spring, according to an estimation announced at a preview meeting held on September 28 on the library’s grounds

On a gray and slightly turbulent day, state Senator Michael Gianaris attended the ceremony, where he was introduced by Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, and praised libraries in general, saying, “We can’t have enough of these fine institutions,” and the Hunters Point branch in particular, as a place “the entire city” would look upon admiringly.


(L. to r.); Mark Christie, President of the Friends of Hunters Point; David Agliaro, representing the office of Assembly Member Cathy Nolan; Debbie Markell Kleinert, District Manager of Community Board 2; architect Steven Holl; City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer; Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott; New York State Senator Michael Gianaris; and Shakeel Ahmed, Assistant Commissioner of Executive Projects, NYC Department of Design and Construction. (L. to r.); Mark Christie, President of the Friends of Hunters Point; David Agliaro, representing the office of Assembly Member Cathy Nolan; Debbie Markell Kleinert, District Manager of Community Board 2; architect Steven Holl; City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer; Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott; New York State Senator Michael Gianaris; and Shakeel Ahmed, Assistant Commissioner of Executive Projects, NYC Department of Design and Construction. Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer was apologetic for being slightly late, saying that this time he didn’t blame the No. 7 train but the No. 4. Walcott introduced him by praising his “investment” in this and other libraries.

“Everything I have to give I have given to this project,” Van Bramer said. As the Council’s Chairman of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee, he has steered $15 million toward the construction of the Hunters Point branch, a cost-overrun case whose total price seems to be concluded at $38 million. The Councilman paid tribute to the late Fausta Ippolito, a local woman whose fervor for getting the library built moved Van Bramer to declare it her monument, while wishing she could have lived to see it.

He said Steven Holl “has become a fast friend” and that the building he created is Manhattan’s to look at but Queens’ to own. When he ran for the Council’s 26th District seat in 2009, he said, the completion of what was then a troubled project, for which ground hadn’t even been broken, was one of his prime pledges. On a frozen day in January 2015, in a rally beside the still empty lot, he and others in attendance looked forward to a groundbreaking in the spring. That occurred, and the prediction at the time that the finished library would be open in 2017 is a likelihood now.

Steven Holl himself got a Walcott introduction and praised Van Bramer’s tireless effort and referred to the Reading Garden that would be part of the finished library and grounds. He wished the silver stain that is to be applied to the raw concrete of the library’s surface had been applied in time for this meeting. Still, it will be there for the big one, and is another feature to look forward to.

After remarks by Mark Christie of Friends of the Hunters Point Public Library, the attendees were allowed to go into the unfinished building, if protected by a builder’s hard hat. Inside, they could write messages on a first-floor wall, though the wall is to be covered over, the messages will remain within the building for posterity.

Van Bramer said as his closing remark that it’s important this building be “a landmark the day it is opened.”

We should be able to see and decide a few months from now.

Return to top

Copyright 1999-2018 The Service Advertising Group, Inc. All rights reserved.