Open sesame! Central Library gets pricey new doors

Open sesame! Central Library gets pricey new doors
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Notice something different at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library? Good, you shouldn’t.

On Thursday, library officials showed off brand new front doors that are meant to be exact replicas of the ones that have welcomed bookworms since the library first opened in 1941, only these ones are supposed to work. The overhaul cost $250,000 in grant money, but library managers say that it is money well spent.

“With roughly one million visitors to Central Library every year, we are certain our new doors will be put to very good use,” library President Linda E. Johnson said.

Library officials said that time took its toll on the old doors, which had never been replaced until now. The central revolving door was recently closed for a year because it was in such disrepair, officials said.

The library brought in architects and metal specialists to create the new bronze and glass doors, which include two sets of double doors and a revolving middle door. The entrance forms the base of the central library’s monumental 50-foot-tall entryway that is adorned with gold-leafed depictions of American literary characters.

The library won the cash to revamp the entryway of the landmarked Art Deco building in a citywide competition conducted online in 2012 by Partners in Preservation, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express that gives money to restore historic buildings across the country.

The library door job came out on top, bringing in 9 percent of the online vote and beating out 39 other buildings.

The revamp came at a time when the Brooklyn Public Library system is desperate for funding, despite recently staving off a $106-million system-wide budget cut proposed by Mayor Bloomberg. The library’s 60 branch buildings are in need of a whopping $230-million in overdue repairs, according to library trustees.

Nearby Park Slope synagogue Congregation Beth Elohim also bagged $250,000 in restoration funding from the contest.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.
From old to new: The Central Library at Grand Army Plaza has new bronze front doors, thanks to a $250,000 grant.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

More from Around New York