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New Hunters Point Library is a waterfront literary oasis with great kids' programs

By Oliver Strand

The Hunters Point Library that opened this week is a stunner, a $40 million public amenity so airy and tasteful it looks like it could be in the capital of a Scandinavian country. But here it is in the borough of Queens, rising from a former brownfield site on the Long Island City waterfront. As Alicia Keys put it, "Let's hear it for New York."

What's so special about the building? The walls, for one. Designed by Steven Holl Architects, which has done major projects for Princeton and MIT, the library's walls carry the building's weight, opening up the interior to be a sculptural space free of columns. Those soaring stairs and cascading floors are made possible by clever engineering. The library is more than a pretty facade—it's some serious architecture. 

Photograph: Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

Photograph: Courtesy Max Touhey for Queens Public Library

Most importantly, it's a library with an amazing section for kids and some fantastic children's programs, including Toddler Times (Wednesdays at 10:30am; no sessions on Oct 14 and Nov 11), Saturday Pre-K Music and Play Times (10:30am), Wednesday Crafternoons (4–5pm) and Thursday STEAM Afternoons (4–5pm). You can find a calendar of activities online. As every New York parent knows, the kids' library branches in this city are a terrific resource and the librarians that staff them are heroes—be sure to ask them about the best children's books out right now.

Photograph: Courtesy Max Touhey for Queens Public Library

Our advice? You should visit, and make an excursion of it. Arrive by ferry (it's right by Hunters Point South Landing), enjoy the library and then head out on a family adventure! (If you're looking for what to do, we have some ideas about things to do with kids in NYC.)

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