New York Public Library reopens with $200M upgrade

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Before-and-after photos show the dramatic $200 million renovation of the New York Public Library’s biggest branch — complete with 400,000 books, floor-to-ceiling shelves, and an entire level for kids and teens.

The venerable building on 40th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was upgraded from a gutted place with a 1978 interior into a bright, modern space for browsing, according to images provided exclusively to The Post.

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The first floor before the NYPL’s renovation.

NYPL

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The renovated first floor of the NYPL.

Max Touhey

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The lower level of the NYPL before the renovation.

NYPL

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The newly renovated lower level of the NYPL.

Max Touhey

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People in the NYPL’s second floor in 2017.

NYPL

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The second floor after the NYPL’s renovation.

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The dazzling transformation includes eight floors, more public seating and a charming rooftop terrace that’s free to the public, according to the NYPL.

The once-bustling branch officially reopens Tuesday after renovations shuttered it for three years and it remained in near-shutdown due to the coronavirus.

Renamed Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, the building now features five floors of book stacks along with a 42-foot high atrium that connects to two floors of classrooms and meeting areas.

The library is also now 20,000 square feet large and features a sprawling kids floor with child-sized furniture and shelves.

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The location of the NYPL’s new terrace before the renovation.

NYPL

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The new terrace of the NYPL.

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The NYPL’s third floor while it was being renovated.

Adriaan van Dam

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The finished new third floor of the NYPL.

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The newly updated fifth floor.

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“It is the central circulating library New York City has long needed, wanted, and deserves. As we all look towards our next chapter of recovery and renewal, it is important that learning an opportunity be readily and freely accessible to all. There is no more important or better timed civic infrastructure project to accomplish those ever present and pressing goals,” NYPL President Anthony Marx said in a statement.

The renovation was paid for by the city and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which donated $55 million to the project, according to the NYPL.

“This library is exactly what New York needs right now: a truly open and public place aa accessible to all, where people of all ages and backgrounds can experience wonder, grow in their understanding of the world, and launch on new trajectories that enrich life for all of us,” said Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

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