Q&A: Library President on Failed Renovation Plan

“When it was announced last week that the New York Public Library was suddenly scrapping its ambitious and embattled plan to gut-renovate its iconic central branch and move many of its books to New Jersey, we had a lot of questions. Did the reversal have anything to do with the turnover at City Hall from development-happy Bloomberg to de Blasio, who’d protested the so-called Central Library Plan as public advocate? If ballooning cost estimates were the culprit, as library president Tony Marx conceded, how much had they risen from the projected $300 million, and why did it take an independent survey to discover that? What would eventually be done with the library stacks, which remain intact but unusable? Marx, who’s made the renovation a keystone of his tenure at the library, agreed to our Q&A, but only by email, and only after the questions were severely pared down. In the intervening week, he’s kept most interviews off the record and limited extensive comment to an essay in the Library Journal — a smooth blend of calm explication and revisionist history that, like the planning itself, falls a little short of real transparency.” (via NYMag)

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