Yorkville Branch, NYPL, Manhattan

222 East 79th Street
James Brown Lord, 1902; renovation: Gwathmey Siegel & Associates 1986


The very first of the Carnegie-funded branches of the NYPL, the Yorkville Branch officially opened in December of 1902. The three-story building has a limestone facade, divided into three bays with elegant arched windows on the main floor and Ionic columns on the second. At the turn of the century, Yorkville was a densely populated German immigrant neighborhood, and as such, the third floor of the original building housed only German language publications. At the end of World War I, Thomas Masaryk used the Yorkville library to conduct the research that led to his founding of the Czechoslovakian state. The library’s interior was renovated in the late 1980s with funds donated by the Rose family. Once again the place of a pioneering event, the renovation was the first time a branch library was overhauled using private resources. The current library occupies two floors within the original ornate Palladian-inspired façade. The building was designated a landmark in 1967, only two years after the enactment of the New York City Landmarks Law. The library is an New York City Individual Landmark and listed on the New York City and State National Register of Historic Places.