New York Public Library, Port Richmond Branch
75 Bennett Street,
Staten Island, NY 10302
Block: 1007 Lot: 26
Lot Area: 10,000 sq ft (100′ x 100′)
Number of floors: 1
Building Area: 4,834 sq ft
Designed by Carrere & Hastings, architects. Built by E.E. Paul Company.
Late 19th & 20th Century Revivals
Walls: Brick, Stone
Roof: Wood frame, Shingle roof with deep eaves
Other: Wood frieze and pediment at entrance, Round-arched windows
The Port Richmond Branch is located on the corner of Bennett Street and Heberton Avenue on Staten Island.
Built in 1904-1905, the Port Richmond Branch of New York Public Library is the second Carnegie branch on Staten Island. The library building was designed by Carrere & Hastings whose firm designed all four Carnegie branches on Staten Island. The builder, the E.E. Paul Company, built the Stapleton, Tottenville, and Port Richmond branches. The building design is inspired by classical architecture as seen in its symmetrical layout, entrance portico and Tuscan columns, and arched windows, yet its hipped shingle roof creates a subtle rustic quality. The building design is very similar to the larger Tottenville branch and almost identical to Stapleton branch.
The Port Richmond Branch is a New York City Individual Landmark and continues to operate as a branch of The New York Public Library. There were major alterations and an addition in 1938-9 with WPA funds. These included the lower level auditorium. The original wood shingled roof was replaced with asphalt shingles in 1967.
Construction and Layout:
The building is set back on lawn with a concrete walk leading from Bennett Street to the entrance. The building is composed of one tall story rectangular shape with a small projected rear wing on a raised basement. The exterior envelope is constructed of brick, stone and stucco, and the hipped roof is constructed of a heavy timber wood frame covered with shingle roofing. The building plan is a typical symmetrical layout with a central entrance leading to a room containing the librarians’ station, which was flanked on two sides by reading rooms. The small projected rear wing contains a librarian’s room and stairs to the basement.
The exterior of the Port Richmond branch embodies the typical characteristics of the suburban branches as seen in Tottenville and Stapleton branches. The main South façade is composed of the symmetrical Classical Revival style. The building is one story tall and three bays wide with a projecting center entrance. The facade walls consist of Flemish bond red brick with quoined limestone trims, which encase the arched windows at the both wings. The full-height center shallow entrance wing is articulated with limestone Tuscan columns flanked with brick piers, which support a full wood pediment and decorative frieze. The painted wood pediment is trimmed with wood cornice and modillions at all three sides. The painted wood frieze is divided into eight simple raised “X”s and the architrave below contains the words “NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY.” A flagpole is anchored at the center of the frieze.
All two fenestrations at the South elevation have classical three round arched panes over three rectangular panes. The bottom rectangular panes appear to have been replaced with two double hung windows. Between two Tuscan columns is the center entrance arched window and the entrance door. The non-historic metal entrance door has five-pane transom above and is flanked with two wood fluted pilasters and decorative wood lintel. The basement windows are rectangular and topped with limestone lintels. The window openings are covered with decorative metal grilles overlaid with non-historic mesh grills. The side elevations have two rectangular windows at each side on each floor.
The building is topped with a flared hipped roof, which is running parallel to Bennett Street. The deep eaves are terminated with the simple wooden gutter that has simple wood brackets. The roof is currently covered with asphalt shingle roofing.
The interior features white plastered ceilings and walls. The lighting fixtures are suspended from the ceiling. The transition of the plaster between the walls and ceilings is arched and has the simple wood cornice and dentils.