Hotel Takes Teens’ Dream via a ‘Hush’ Deal

During the Bloomberg administration library services have been the first to go. Now the actual real property is being quietly sold off. Three libraries to date have been split, the lesser part to the library, the greater part to some sort of deluxe sleeping arrangement with Columbia University, Soho Condos and Rockefeller Park Condos.

The latest move, to put a speakeasy’s hotel and restaurant on top (“Club 21”), the two to lord over the basement, where a children’s and teenagers library and internationally acclaimed media center of the Donnell Library has resided, is just plain without taste and cannot be tolerated.

Last Friday I started a multi-use campaign. You’ll be getting some delightful wee bits of it each day. Trust me, the fat lady has not sung.

In 2002 the Donnell Library received $1 million to renovate its Media Center. That Center was abuzz on opening day with state and federal Senators, NYPL President and even Speaker Quinn when she was council person; all patting each other on the back for their fine technical achievement, a job well done.

Yesterday I quoted the COO (chief operating officer) of Donnell Library’s remark on the November 2007 sale announcement. “Donnell Library was down on its luck” he said. This new, 70+% smaller space, would be finally, yawn, technically correct. Perhaps he doesn’t get it but the community that uses it is just fine with the technicalities right now. They are happy. Donnell Library Rocks in the Rockefeller Center!

Again the reviews of the then “new” Donnell Media Center (14,500 sq ft), a mere five years ago in 2002, NYPL press, were, simply amazing.

“The renovation of the Donnell Media Center positions the Donnell Media Center positions the Donnell library Centers as a premier site for film, video and spoken word study and enjoyment,”–Dr. Paul LeClerc

“It reaffirms some of America’s most cherished values–the free exchange of ideas and information and the opportunity for people to connect with each other and discover the tools to improve their lives…The Donnell Media Center is one of the true gems of the NYPL system.”–City Council member (now speaker) Christine Quinn.

note: the renovation of the 14,500 square foot Donnell Media Center was designed by Sen Architects and managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction.

In February 2004, a mere 3 years ago, a $275,000 renovation was made by Jennifer Nobis Architects along with team librarians and teens’ dreams. The renovation created a teen center inside of Donnell Library that was every teen’s dreams (adult were and still are green with envy, though they certainly did have their share of the bountiful Donnell Library).

Wowsa for a now ‘down on its luck’ library:

Complete redesign of the interior public service areas
· Surround Sound stereo system and a 36-inch TV with a DVD player
· Wi-Fi Access
· Two lounge areas
· Circulating collections of popular music CDs and teen DVDs
· 12 new computers for public use
· Glass-enclosed quiet/study room for teens who need a space to work without the music
· Attractive lighting, carpeting, and new finishes throughout
· Teen-friendly furniture, including a new Information Desk

and so much more see further NYPL press.

The truth is the Donnell Library until November 11 or whenever the signing of the agreement between the Orient-Express and NYPL was not down on its luck. Estates and individuals easily grant their largesse to this library.


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