New York Public Library

History, maps

new york 1855 businesses map

If you think your neighborhood has changed since you moved in, step back and have a look at this incredible map to get some real perspective. One of the many maps maintained within the NYPL’s Map Warper project, this particular cartogram dubbed the 1855 New York Business Map shows the location of more than 3,000 mid-19th century New York businesses—as well as some other fun stuff like stables, churches and schools. Want to know what life was like in your neighborhood way back in 1855? Jump ahead for more.

Access the map here

History, maps, photography

OldNYC, New York Public Library, historic photos NYC

For us NYC history nerds, the New York Public Library‘s digital archive is one of the most valuable tools. We can search historic photos by address, building name, or neighborhood. This can get a little tedious, though, especially if a location no longer exists or we don’t know the exact street number. But sleuthing for vintage pictures just got a whole lot easier thanks to a new mapping tool from the library’s NYPL Labs team. OldNYC is an interactive map that features red dots on every location for which the collection has photos from the 1870s through the 1970s and lets you explore and interact with the images.

Find out more here

Featured Story

Features, History, Interviews, New Yorker Spotlight, People

Philip Sutton, NYPL reference desk, New York Public Library

Philip Sutton and the Irma and Paul Milstein Division, via NYPL

Though we’re living in the digital age where we can do a tremendous amount of research online, sometimes we still need the library, and more importantly, the help of an actual person. If you happen to be researching your family or interested in learning the history of a particular building in New York, then perhaps you’ve stopped by the reference desk at the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy of the New York Public Library and asked librarian Philip Sutton for help.

Philip has worked in the Milstein Division for almost five years as a reference librarian. On a daily basis, he takes the journey with New Yorkers looking to learn more about their city and more often than not, to answer deeply personal questions about their families. It’s a unique position to be in, and one that he takes very seriously. Originally from London, Philip has a particular expertise in helping people conduct research on building history in New York. He writes blog posts on the topic for the library and teaches a bi-monthly course aptly titled, “Who Lives in a House Like This? How to Research the History of Your New York City Home,” during which he instructs New Yorkers how to get started with their research.

We recently spoke to Philip about his role at the library, and, as expected, he was full of helpful resources.

Read our full interview here

Art, Brooklyn, History, photography

Dinanda Nooney, NYPL Digital Gallery

Mother and daughter in Flatbush

An online gallery from the New York Public Library provides a stunning glimpse into domestic life in Brooklyn in the 1970s, courtesy of photographer Dinanda Nooney, who traveled through the borough from January 1978 to April 1979, capturing locals in their homes and asking them to then suggest other subjects. The black-and-white photos range from everyday scenes of Brooklynites to the residence of a local celebrity biker to the childhood home of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Take a look at Dinanda Nooney’s photos here

Featured Story

Architecture, Brooklyn, Design, Features, Queens, Video

nyply, schwarzman, stephen a. schwarzman building, new york public library

Flickr image by endymion120

With the advent of the Internet—namely Google—the role of the library has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. But even with the introduction of new technology, never have libraries played a more important role in educating the public—and their rapid growth in attendance proves this. Although the New York Public Library (NYPL) scrapped Norman Foster’s plan to renovate their flagship location last year, they still have a $300 million renovation plan in the works and they’re hard on the hunt for a high-tech redesign. While we may be years off before we see a new design emerge, The Architectural League and the Center for an Urban Future have made their own investigation into what could be by asking a handful of architects to drum up exciting new library designs that meet the needs of today’s tech-savvy users. Originally published on ArchDaily as “Five Design Teams Re-Envision New York’s Public Libraries,” Connor Walker explores the five design teams’ proposal for a better NYPL.

There are 207 branch libraries in the city of New York, each providing a number of services to city residents. From the simple lending of books to adult technical literacy classes, these institutions are as vital as they were before the advent of the Internet, and their attendance numbers prove it. Between the years of 2002 and 2011, circulation in the city’s library systems increased by 59 percent. Library program attendance saw an increase of 40 percent. In spite of this, library funding was cut by 8 percent within this same timeframe, which has made it difficult to keep many of the system’s buildings in good repair. To spark interest and support from city leaders, The Architectural League, in collaboration with the Center for an Urban Future, instigated the design study “Re-Envisioning New York’s Branch Libraries.”

Read more

Architecture, Midtown

hunt library

Norman Foster’s design for the New York Public Library (NYPL) may have been scrapped, but the library isn’t giving up on the opportunity to turn its space into an innovative learning hub. As the NYPL gears up for a new $300 million renovation plan, they’re turning to a very unlikely locale for their inspiration: The South.

The NYPL is using two high-tech libraries in Tennessee and North Carolina as models for their new spaces at the Schwarzman building and the highly trafficked Mid-Manhattan branch across the street. The renovation will be geared towards the needs of teachers, students and entrepreneurs, and will be designed to support collaborative pursuits within the library walls.

More on the NYPL’s new plans here

Daily Link Fix

  • 7 Galleries Amping Up The Art World: Galleries are slowly moving from a blank canvas that showcases art to a work of art themselves. Architizer explores some galleries that are enhancing their art through intriguing architecture.
  • Bed Stuy Says Goodbye to Lenny Kravitz’s Childhood Home: The Brownstoner mourns with Bed Stuy locals as the musician’s grandparents home is converted to a multi-family apartment building.
  • A Web App Where Emojis Fly At Your Face: You’ll either be thoroughly entertained or just plain annoyed. FastCo. has the latest on a new app the takes emojis to another level.
  • Digital Music Store for Theater Lovers: More proof that Glee has transformed a generation, the once under appreciated show tune art form is coming back with its own digital store, and Crain’s NY has the details.
  • New York Public Library Unveils New Renovation Plans: The library’s new plan is expected to cost $300 million, significantly less than its predecessor. The Real Deal has the scoop on the rejected old plan as well as the new pitch.
  • Rocket Joe’s Pizza Closed For Business: Even when you have time to prepare, the pain of loss is still piercing. Bowery Boogie gives a touching en memoriam to a Lower East Side fixture that will be missed.
  • Popsicle Art: Have you ever seen that episode of the Twilight Zone where the sun is moving closer to the earth and the woman is painting a cool picture of a waterfall to distract herself from the heat? Well, this piece is kinda like that. Apartment Therapy has some adorable popsicle art that will keep you and the kids cool… and hungry… during those hot summer days.

Images: Lenny Kravitz (left), Rocket Joe’s (right)

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.