New York Public Library, St. George Branch
10 Central Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10302
Block: 5 Lot: 74
Lot Area: 28,000 sq ft (148′ x 200′)
Number of floors: 2 and half
Building Area: 23,258 sq ft
Designed by Carrere & Hastings, architects. Built by J.C. Vreeland Building Company.
Late 19th & 20th Century Revivals
Walls: Brick, Stone
Roof: Wood frame, Shingle roof with deep eaves and dormers
Other: Metal gutter and bracket, Limestone pediment at entrance, Round-arched windows
The St. George Branch is located on a lot surrounded by Hyatt Street, Central Avenue and Bay Street at three sides on Staten Island.
Opened in 1907, the St. George Branch of New York Public Library is one of four Carnegie branches on Staten Island. The original library building was designed by Carrere & Hastings whose firm designed all four Carnegie branches on Staten Island. The builder was the J.C. Vreeland Building Company, who also built the Webster Carnegie Branch in Manhattan. The two and half-story St. George Branch is much larger than the other Carnegies on Staten Island reflecting the size and importance of this neighborhood also home of the ferry terminal and Borough Hall. The building design is inspired by classical architecture, and the original building design features a rectangular floor plan, limestone base at the first floor, brick wall at the second and third floor and a hipped roof with small dormers.
The St. George Branch continues to operate as a branch of The New York Public Library. A large North rear addition, which extends from West to East and perpendicular to the original building, was built in 1952 and major renovations were undertaken in 1963 and 1986.
Construction and Layout:
The original rectangular shaped building is located parallel to Central Avenue from North to South. The original building was composed of tow and half-story rectangular shape and nine bays wide with slightly projecting end bays. The exterior envelope is constructed of limestone base at the first floor, brick wall at the second and third floor, and the hipped roof is constructed of a heavy timber wood frame covered with shingle roofing.
The exterior of the St. George branch embodies the combination of typical characteristics of the urban branches and suburban branches of Carnegie branch libraries. The three-story building is taller than other three branches on Staten Island, yet the hipped shingle roof creates a suburban atmosphere as seen in other three branches. The East and West façades are composed of the symmetrical Classical Revival style. The site slopes down from West to East, so the building is two-story tall at the West façade and three-story tall at the East façade. The East and West facades are nine bays wide with slightly projecting end bays. The first floor wall are clad with limestone and the second and third floor walls consist of Flemish bond red brick topped with limestone band below the cornice. The main entrance is capped with a deep limestone pediment. Both sides of the front entrance door are flanked with fluted Doric style limestone columns.
The middle five bays at East and West facades have two-story tall classical three-divided round arched window over rectangular three 4 over 4 double hung windows. The basement windows and two bays at the both ends are rectangular. The North and South elevations have 3 bays with rectangular windows respectively.
The building is topped with a flared hipped roof, which is running parallel to Bennett Street. The deep eaves are terminated with the simple metal cornice that has metal brackets. The roof is currently covered with asphalt shingle roofing.
The additional North wing has the similar configurations as the original: lime stone cladding at the first floor, brick wall at the second and third floors, and the hipped shingle roof with deep metal eaves integrated with gutter and bracket and small dormers. But the ornate limestone pediment and columns and arched windows were not replicated at the additional wing.
The interior’s most impressive historic feature is the exposed heavy timber wood trusses and beams at the top floor, which is a popular detail in Staten Island’s Carnegies.