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Jefferson Market Library

An architectural gem designed by Frederick Clark Withers and Calvert Vaux in a Victorian Gothic style

Jefferson Market Library

425 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY, 10011
+ 1 212-243-4334
Mon-Thur 13:00–20:00
Fr 13:00–18:00
Sat 10:00–17:00
Sun 13:00–17:00

Originally a courthouse, the Jefferson Market Library has served the Greenwich Village community for over forty years. The building, a New York City landmark, was designed by architects Frederick Clark Withers and Calvert Vaux (who also assisted in the design of Central Park) in a Victorian Gothic style.

It was erected—along with an adjacent prison and market—between 1875 and 1877 and cost the city almost $360,000. What the city got for its money, in addition to an architectural gem—voted one of the ten most beautiful buildings in America by a poll of architects in the 1880s—was a civil court on the second floor, now the Adult Reading Room, and a police court, now the first-floor Children's Room. The beautiful brick-arched basement, now the Reference Room, was used as a holding area for prisoners on their way to jail or trial. Scattered about the building were offices and chambers, and looming a hundred feet above ground was the firewatcher's tower. The tower, still intact, commands an uninterrupted view of Greenwich Village, and houses the bell that would summon volunteer firemen.

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