Saturday, November 30, 2013

OHNY Weekend - Jefferson Market Library

After the Highlights Tour at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine during the OHNY weekend, I went to Greenwich Village as I wanted to go up the Jefferson Market Library tower. I have always admired the building every time I walked by and the library was opening its tower to the public just for OHNY this day.

There was already a long line of people when I arrived at the library. I got this picture from OHNY's facebook page, I think I might be somewhere in that line waiting for my turn to go up the tower.

Photo credit: OHNY/Ben Neufeld
The library was once know as the Jefferson Market Courthouse.
It was originally built as the Third Judicial District Courthouse from 1874 to 1877, and was designed by architect Frederick Clarke Withers of the firm of Vaux and Withers. Faced with demolition in 1958, public outcry led to its reuse as a branch of the New York Public Library. The building is now part of the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission's Greenwich Village Historic District, created in 1969. The AIA Guide to New York City calls the building "A mock Neuschwansteinian assemblage ... of leaded glass, steeply sloping roofs, gables, pinnacles, Venetian Gothic embellishments, and an intricate tower and clock; one of the City's most remarkable buildings.
I'm so glad the building wasn't demolished. I think it's the prettiest library in the world, don't you think so, too?

As the line neared the entrance to the tower, I looked at its window facing 10th Street. It was reflecting the sky and the autumn scene across the street. I can also see the intricate details of the designs in the window, including some flowers and a squirrel.

At the bottom of the window is another detail, a cute owl spreading its wings. I could almost hear it hooting.

Then it's time to go up the tower. First, we had to climb a very winding spiral staircase. This was my view looking up while climbing.

At the end of the steps is a landing, and another set of steps, I think these are metal steps.

Near the end of the metal steps is this contraption. An old elevator? I have no idea but it looks like there's a pulley system in there.

After climbing 149 steps, I finally reached the end of the stairs and stepped into the narrow ledge around the top part of the tower. The door faces the south view of Manhattan, and my eyes were immediately drawn to the tallest building in the western hemisphere. What a view, hello One World Trade Center!

Wrapped around the narrow ledge at the top of  the tower is a metal balustrade.

Here's a closer look at the balustrade design.

I saw lots of greenery looking at the West Village.

The view north stretches along Sixth Avenue into midtown Manhattan. The most familiar building I saw was the Empire State Building.

The rest of the Greenwich Village can be seen looking out east from the library tower.

Don't forget to look up, the library tower has some amazing details. These are some of the gargoyles guarding over the four-sided clock at the top of the round tower.

Here's a closer view of a gargoyle and the beautiful blue sky.

The four edges of the square clock has this triangular detail, with different designs at the bottom.

From the tower, I also saw some of the gables and pinnacles of the structure.

I really can't get enough of the views, one more pic of One World Trade Center before I left the tower.

A look back at the spiral metal staircase from the landing before I went down the concrete spiral steps.

Near the bottom of the concrete spiral steps are some windows with simple stained glass designs.

Crossing Sixth Avenue from the library and looking south, the buildings of the World Trade Center dominate the Manhattan skyline.

The Jefferson Market Library stands on an irregular shaped lot bounded by Sixth Avenue, Tenth Street, Greenwich Avenue and Ninth Avenue. The second picture above is the view from Sixth Avenue. The entrance to the tower is along Tenth Avenue and this is the view from across the entrance.

Look at that! I can't believe just minutes before taking this pic, I was way up there by the ledge enjoying the views. 

Thank you Open House New York and the Jefferson Market Library! That was a wonderful experience and hopefully, I can climb the tower again the next OHNY weekend.

The Jefferson Market Library website and an article from Untapped New York has great coverage of the history of the courthouse turned library.

For the rest of my Jefferson Market Library pictures during the OHNY weekend, here's the album on Flickr- Jefferson Market Library-OHNY Weekend

I might not be able to write about my third OHNY weekend event which was a visit to the TWA Flight Center. If you'd like to see my pics, here's the album on Flickr - TWA Flight Center-OHNY Weekend


  1. Hey there. Your blog is amazing, you make outstanding pictures. What a great Artist you are. I don´t understand why people have to copy your awesome work and not give you the credits. This makes me so angry with this empty persons! This profile in FB is using your pictures as they were his own, to show off using your work!

    This is for me a lack of shame!
    I hope you continue doing this lovely job that you do, to show as NY through your eyes. You have totally my admiration and respect.
    I love your work.
    Thank you very much.
    Best regards,

  2. Hi Valerie! Thank you for your wonderful words about my work. I checked on that FB page you referred and it seems that isn't my pic. Thank you anyway for getting it to my attention, it means I can count on those who appreciate my pictures to let me know if anyone is using it as their own and not giving me credit. I do have one person who has used my pictures as his own in instagram. I just hope a lot of people still have the decency to do things the right way.

    Thanks again and have a great December!

  3. Hi Dear Gigi, you are so sweet!!

    I looked it again and yes, it is your picture, you post it here below, picture number 25 from this post:

    with the text "I dropped by the Park again the weekend after I finished writing this. I just wanted to add a couple of pics I took of the Great Lawn. See how pretty it looks from Belvedere Castle."

    FB profile is using this picture from Great Lawn as a cover photo with the text: "original pic non editing by Ôm Sabrina Molina!"

    If you can´t see it on the link, check the cover photos album.

    I hope you have a great December too, with more amazing posts and pictures for us!

    Lots of love,

    1. Hi again Valerie! Thank you for the clarification! I thought I took that picture this year that's why I said it wasn't my pic. That was a photo I took from a walk in the park last year, and you're right, it's my photo. Thank you again for bringing to my attention, I already messaged the person on FB. I hope she will do the right thing and give me credit.

      I have lots of pictures but sometimes I lag in posting them, more so in writing this blog. If you really want to keep updated of my photos, the best way I think is through my twitter account and Flickr, as eventually, I post all pics there even if I don't write about that experience.

      Thanks again, really appreciate it!