Carnegie Libraries

Tompkins Square Branch, 331 East 10th Street, McKim, Mead & White, 1904
Rivington Branch, 61-63 Rivington Street, McKim, Mead & White, 1905
Seward Park Branch, 192 East Broadway, Babb, Cook & Welch, 1909
Chatham Square Branch, 33 East Broadway, McKim, Mead & White, 1903

Businessman Andrew Carnegie funded the construction of 67 libraries in New York City between 1901 and 1929, and commissioned prominent architects to design them. Of the 57 still standing, four are located in the East Village and Lower East Side. Three of these were designed by McKim, Mead & White in the Classical Revival style: the Rivington, Chatham Square and Tompkins Square Branches. The Rivington Branch was the first library in the city to incorporate an open-air rooftop reading room, a feature that others soon copied. The Chatham Square and Tompkins Square Branches are grander, with arched window openings, columns and fanciful carvings. The Seward Park Branch was designed by the same architects responsible for Carnegie’s mansion on Fifth Avenue, and the two red brick and limestone, Renaissance Revival buildings bear a striking resemblance. The Tompkins Square Branch, Seward Park Branch, and Chatham Square Branch are all designated New York City Individual Landmarks. Tompkins Square Branch is located in the East Village/ Lower East Side Historic District.