David Levering Lewis: Central Library Plan is a “Developer’s Dream”

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David Levering Lewis, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of W.E.B. DuBois (and 2002 Library Lion), joins the chorus of outrage about the NYPL:

For some time, a hypothesis that dared not speak its name has reigned over the NYPL debate. Several months ago, this hypothesis was nourished by an opinion served up by the sharp-eyed New York correspondent for Le Monde who detected “des ambitions immobilieres” (“real estate motivations”) concealed within the grand scheme.

Even without the benefit of Cartesian clarity, a concerned citizen might find it hard to resist understanding the impending desecration of the architectural and institutional masterpiece designed by Carrere and Hastings at 42d Street and Fifth Avenue otherwise than in the following manner as implied by the French newspaper: that the sale of the seven-story Mid-Manhattan Circulating Library and its air rights on Fifth Avenue at 40th is a developer’s dream, as was the greatly regretted sale of the Donnell Library across from MOMA.

You really find yourself strongly inclined to concur with Manhattan Institute’s Nicole Gelinas in the July 8, 2013, edition of the New York Post—that what NYPL calls the Central Library Plan is a “real estate fiction.”

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