Brooklyn Central Library by Githens & Kealy

Brooklyn Central Library by Githens and Kealy

The main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, located at Flatbush Ave. and Eastern Pkwy. on Grand Army Plaza and across the street from Prospect Park, was designed by Githens & Keally was opened its doors in 1941.

The architects designed a wide plaza with a bold, stark, curved limestone façade.

Brooklyn Central Library by Githens and Kealy

The façade ornament is limited to pylons covered with gilded relief carvings that combine modern-age figures with ones from antiquity.

Brooklyn Central Library by Githens and Kealy

Brooklyn Central Library by Githens and Kealy

Sculptor C. Paul Jennewein’s signature, dated 1939:

Brooklyn Central Library by Githens and Kealy

Above the front doors, Thomas Hudson Jones designed a bronze grid with gilt figures of literary subjects:

Brooklyn Central Library by Githens and Kealy

Brooklyn Central Library by Githens and Kealy

The lobby is a brightly lit, soaring, 3-story high space with curved pylons and walls covered in wood veneer:

Brooklyn Central Library by Githens and Kealy

Brooklyn Central Library by Githens and Kealy

Here’s an interesting bit of trivia: before it became part of NYC, Brooklyn founded its own public library system in 1892. That was 3 years before Manhattan embarked on the same project, but its majestic main library was finished in 1911, before the construction of the one in Brooklyn had even started [for more, check out the NYT].

The BPL is now the 5th largest public library system in the US, and this branch contains over 3 million cataloged books, magazines, and multimedia materials.

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