Seward Park Library Closed Until Jan. 31

Followup: Seward Park Library Wins Landmark Designation

Seward Park Library. Photo via Flickr - wallyg.

Seward Park Library. Photo via Flickr – wallyg.

Earlier today, we posted a brief item following the vote by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect the Seward Park Library. Now we have more details.

Landmarks Commission Protects Seward Park Library


A short time ago, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to designate the Seward Park Library, located at 192 East Broadway.

Landmarks Hearing For Seward Park Library April 2

Seward Park Library. Photo via Flickr - wallyg.

Seward Park Library. Photo via Flickr – wallyg.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has scheduled a hearing April 2 on a proposal to protect the Seward Park Library, 192 East Broadway.  Based on a preliminary agenda the item will be heard at 9:40 a.m.  Members of the public are invited to offer testimony.

The 1909, 5-story limestone Renaissance-inspired building was one of 67 branch libraries funded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie.  The item is not expected to be controversial.  You may have seen a New York Times piece the other day touching on a plan to sell property in Brooklyn controlled by the Public Library as a way of raising desperately needed funds; the libraries there would be torn down by developers and rebuilt.

There’s no sign of this type of move on the Lower East Side, but preservationists have definitely taken note of the developments in Brooklyn. Another neighborhood branch, the 1903 Chatham Square Library, lacks historic protection.


CB3 Looks to Support Landmarking of Seward Park Library

Seward Park Library. Photo via Flickr – wallyg.

Here’s a last minute reminder about tonight’s CB3 landmarks subcommittee hearing.  Among the items on the agenda, a resolution in support of landmark designation for the Seward Park Library, 192 East Broadway.

The 1909, 5-story limestone Renaissance-inspired building was one of 67 branch libraries funded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie. In her book, The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited, Joyce Mendelsohn notes that Leon Trotsky spent time at the library when he visited New York in 1917.  The Landmarks Commission announced late last year it would schedule a public hearing on the library application, but there’s no date yet.  It’s not expected to be a controversial item, but a supportive resolution from the community board always helps.

Also on the agenda tonight, proposals for renovations at 117 2nd Avenue and a restoration at Middle Collegiate Church, 50 East 7th Street.  The meeting takes place at the BRC Senior Center, 30 Delancey Street, beginning at 6:30 p.m. More info available on CB3’s web site.


A Library-Loving Lion

Photo via Mike Fung’s Instagram feed.

A friendly lion makes a new friend outside the Seward Park Library, where the Literacy Harvest Fair was held this afternoon. Thanks to Mike Fung for the photo.


Local High Schoolers Study Changing Neighborhoods

A student on location for an Urban Memory Project assignment.

The following story was written by Sarah Sluis, a new contributor to The Lo-Down:

In New York City, neighborhoods can undergo dramatic change in a matter of months.  The Urban Memory Project, which was co-founded by educator Rebecca Krucoff and playwright Ain Gordon in 2005, aims to help high school students understand these changes.

After years running the program in Brooklyn, Krucoff is currently teaching a pilot program with a class at Lower Manhattan Arts Academy (LOMA), 350 Grand Street. She hopes to create “informed citizenship,” and to teach teens to “have a voice” and to be engaged in their communities.  Through the program, students become aware of the social, political, and economic forces at work outside their apartment building. Although books are used, the program emphasizes visuals, films, speakers, student-led interviews and photography.

Scorsese and the City Come to the Heritage Film Series

Scorsese interviewing his parents at their home on Elizabeth Street, in the film "Italianamerican."

This month’s installment of the always fascinating LES Heritage Film Series will include film legend Martin Scorsese interviewing his parents in Italianamerican (1974, 26 min., 16mm).  Scorsese visits with them in their home on Elizabeth Street while they are preparing dinner.  His parents (who are both apparently very good story-tellers) open up about their experience as Italian-American immigrants, and reminiscence about the Scorsese family in Sicily.

Also screening: City of Contrasts (1931, 28 min., 16mm) by Irving Browning. The film features images from New York City during the Depression, “exploring roof-top luxury as well as street-level reality.”

Weekend Kids’ Pick

Catch a free screening of Disney's Beauty and the Beast this Saturday at Seward Park Library.

This Saturday, get the family out of the cold and watch Beauty and the Beast at the Seward Park Library. Part of the library’s Saturday Afternoon Family Movies series during February, the free movies are screened in the community room at 2:30. Next Saturday the 25th is Cars 2.

For information about other family family events on the Lower East Side, please visit our kids page.


LES Heritage Film Series: “Punking Out” and “Wino”

Revisit punk rock birthplace CBGB’s and hear members of the Ramones and the Dead Boys talk about their music and the NYC scene in 1979’s “Punking Out,” part of the next installment of the Lower East Side Heritage Film Series at the Seward Park Library.

In the second film of the evening, “Wino,” New York art film pioneer Jack Smith turns his camera on the denizens of the Bowery, circa 1977. Curator Sean Ferguson will be playing some of his own compositions, live, as a score for the silent film.

The Dec. 6 event is free and begins at 6:30 p.m.

Read more about the film series on Facebook.

“Hester Street” Kicks Off LES Film Series

The Seward Park Library’s LES Heritage Film Series returns for a second season Tuesday night.  Series curator Sean Ferguson digs up some real gems from the New York Public Library’s vast film archive.  The screening room (the library’s basement) is not glamorous (if you’re old enough you might even have a flashback or two to elementary school). But the films are often fascinating.

Tomorrow, the series features “Hester Street,” the highly regarded 1975 portrayal of immigrant life on the Lower East Side near the turn of the 20th century.

Weekend Kids’ Pick

Free math tutoring at Seward Park Library on Saturday.

Now that school is back in full swing, kids (and their parents) may need some serious homework help. On Saturday at the Seward Park Library, volunteer high school students tutor children in math. From 2 to 3 p.m., help is offered for kindergarten through third grade, and from 3 to 4 p.m., students in fourth through eighth grades can seek assistance. Space is limited, so advance registration is required. Free. (212) 477-6770.

Morning Reads: Mayoral Visit, Bike/Ped Officers, Vegan Makeup Shop Debuts

  • The mayor visits Seward Park Library to announce a late-fee amnesty for overdue books, and fields a wide range of inquiries about other city matters. (NYT)
  • City “safety officers” will patrol bike-pedestrian interaction on the Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges through November, at $38/hour each. (Brooklyn Eagle)
  • LES resident Luis Guzman gives a tour of his neighborhood, in anticipation of next week’s premiere of How to Make it in America; see the video, which includes the Bieb. (PopDust)

Kid’s Pick – Summer Reading Kickoff

NYPL 2011 Summer Reading Progam begins Thursday, June 9

The Seward Park Library kicks off the 2011 Summer Reading Program on Thursday, June 9 at 11am. The free festivities will include music, a magic show, face painting, arts and crafts, magna drawing and traditional Mexican dance. Special guests include the NYPL President Dr. Paul LeClerc and NYC School Chancellor Dennis Walcott. For a full schedule of the day’s events, visit the NYPL’s calendar. To sign up for the summer reading program, visit

LES Heritage Film Series Closes Out Season

The LES Heritage Film Series is closing out its season tomorrow evening at the Seward Park Library with a film from the Fulton Fish Market in 1955 and a compilation piece of amazing footage shot in and around Seward Park Library in three different time periods, starting in 1934!  Curator Sean Ferguson writes:

It might be hard to believe, but the historic Fulton Fish Market migrated away from Lower Manhattan more than five years ago.  In our final installment of the 2010-2011 LES Heritage Film Series, we will take a look back at the Fish Market as it was in the 1950s (sans the olfactorial sensations). We’ll be casting the rarely seen extended 23 minute reel for all to sea. All this on our very own scaled down silver screen. (Apologies, as I am sure I have overfished these waters.)