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© 2019 by The Curious Uptowner

There's lots to admire about this historic Harlem library now that the scaffolding is down

June 6, 2018

 

It's time for another big sigh of relief and appreciation for fans of historic architecture: The scaffolding has come down from NYPL's Hamilton Grange Branch on West 145th Street.

 

 

Now we can all go back to admiring this stately city landmark, designed in 1905-1906 by American architects McKim, Mead & White. 

 

Constructed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style–it's meant to resemble a Florentine palazzo–the Hamilton Grange Branch is one of 12 libraries the famed firm built around the city.

 

 

Look closely at the limestone facade and you'll discover a slew of fascinating details, including the city's coat of arms over the door. What looks like a cross is actually four windmill sails that evoke New York's history as a Dutch settlement. They're surrounded by two beavers and two flour barrels representing the goods that first made the city wealthy. It's true!

 

 

On either side of the entrance are windows decorated with cherubs holding books–a sweet clue to what's inside.

 

 

The intricate metalwork is worth checking out, too, from the ornate lamps near the doorway to the lace-patterned cast-iron fence in front of the building.

 

Once you've given the facade your full attention, step right in and do the same inside. That's where the real treasure awaits: NYPL's positively amazing resources.

 

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