Jefferson Market Library – Tourist Attractions in New York City
Jefferson Market Library in NYC, New York, USA
The Jefferson Market Branch, New York Public Library is located at 425 6th Avenue in Greenwich Village, New York City on a triangular plot formed by Greenwich Avenue and West 10th Street. The building was originally built as the Third Judicial District Courthouse between the years 1874-1877 from a design by architects Frederick Clark Withers and Calvert Vaux. Faced with demolition, public outcry led to it’s reuse as a branch of the New York Public Library.
A simple wood fire lookout tower was the first building on the site, built circa 1833, located in the center of the merchants sheds at the Jefferson Market.
The red brick structure which replaced the wood tower was built in a collection of styles inspired by the high pitched roofline of German castles such as Neuschwanstein and Venetian Gothic details, featuring stained glass windows and a four sided clock tower.
The Jefferson Market Library building ceased to be used as a courthouse in 1945. The building remained vacant and was slated for demolition, but local residents led by Margot Gayle saved the richly decorated brick structure by persuading the city to reuse the building as a public library.
There was an adjoining jail along 10th street. The old sheds of the Jefferson Market were replaced in 1883 by a dedicated building for the market, and in 1927 the market and jail were replaced by the New York Women’s House of Detention. That building was demolished in 1974 and the lot is now home to a community garden called the Jefferson Market Greening. During the annual Halloween Parade, a large spider is seen moving up and down the tower. There are annual tours of the tower, typically on Open House New York day in October.