Compact, at 22,000 square feet and 82 feet high, the library is among the finest and most uplifting public buildings New York has produced so far this century.
It also cost something north of $40 million and took forever to complete. So it raises the question: Why can’t New York build more things like this, faster and cheaper?an article in today's Times about the uproar that has arisen over the new building among certain patrons. There is, first of all the problem of all those stairs. There is only one public elevator, which gets jammed when the building is crowded, and anyway doesn't reach all of those terraces you see in the image above. So parts of the stacks are inaccessible to anyone in a wheelchair, or anyone pushing a stroller.
But governments have those cumbersome review boards and what all because they have to answer to voters, who get pissed off when their interests aren't considered. This is not a principality where all that matters is whether the buildings reflect the glory of the prince, but a democracy. Sadly for lovers of cool architecture, responding to the needs of library patrons has to come before style.