Initially proposed in 1888 when Brooklyn was still an independent city, this municipally-financed central library took nearly six decades to build. Ground was broken in 1911 for architect Raymond F. Almirall’s Beaux-Arts scheme, but by 1929 the project stood only one-third complete, a victim of both city politics and finances. In 1935 the architects Alfred Morton Githens and Francis Keally were commissioned to redesign the building, while retaining the existing foundations and steel skeleton. Their monumental design is a limestone-clad Modern Classical structure with impressive Art Deco detailing by the sculptors Thomas Hudson Jones and C. Paul Jennewein. The most striking feature is its fifty-foot high entry portico, set into the concave facade which reflects the elliptical configuration of Grand Army Plaza. Its plan is shaped like an open book.
STATUS Designated Individual Landmark
The Prospect Heights Historic District includes approximately 850 buildings, predominately single-family row houses and apartment buildings, constructed mostly from the mid-19th to early 20th century. The oldest buildings in the district date from the 1850s. The district contains a variety of architectural styles common during...Explore the Neighborhood >
“I don’t know what the City would be without HDC. [They] testified before LPC time after time and helped us focus on the right issues. We would not be an historic district without HDC! ”
Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance
“Use HDC as a resource because they know what they are doing and can offer advice on how to go about creating a district from every front: architectural, political, LPC, and the media. I had floundered prior to my involvement with this invaluable organization.”
Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
“HDC provided guidance and shared information during that process—we knew which Council members were going one way or another and we changed a few minds. I don’t think NoHo would have had as cohesive a district had it not been for HDC’s aid.”
Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension
“I remember Richard saying at a meeting, we have someone here from HDC, Nadezhda Williams, Director of Preservation and Research, to help us. She said to us, ‘You are not the only ones going through this.’ HDC included us in an enormous community”
Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society
"HDC has begun a series of projects to highlight the Bronx's architectural and cultural history. From booklet's and research highlighting specific sites and historic districts to the HDC's symposium in October 2018 to the latest community-based committee to look into further possible sites to qualify for landmarking, the HDC has established projects that will serve the Bronx community well."
City Lore, Folklorist
Bronx Music Heritage Center, Co-Artistic Director
"Welcome2TheBronx is grateful for the advocacy done by the Historic Districts Council on behalf of the people of The Bronx. Through their deep connections and understanding of the importance of preserving our local histories, The Bronx has been able to have several spotlights shown on endangered communities as gentrification creeps into the borough."
Ed García Conde,
founder and Executive Director,