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The Hunters Point Library is a gorgeous addition to the Queens waterfront

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason

At this new library, you may find it difficult to focus on the books.

After almost a decade of development, and a $40 million price tag, the doors are now open at Hunters Point Library. Located on the banks of the East River with a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline—seriously, it may be a bit distracting—the mesmerizing new building will hold more than 50,000 books, including both Spanish and Chinese collections. Overall, the space kind of looks like if an Apple store and an Ikea had a baby, and that baby was then rich enough to afford waterfront real estate in New York. 

Photograph: Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

And what a space it is! Visitors to the public building will find an art installation by Julianne Swartz, designer furniture by Eames and Jean Prouvé, a rooftop with tiered seating, an environmental education center and even a dedicated space for teenagers complete with a video gaming area (which seems like kind of a bait-and-switch for a library, but we’ll allow it.)

The new library is officially the 217th to open in the city and is one of a handful of recent waterfront developments in the neighborhood, which also include the recently opened Hunter's Point South Park. Though its many years of development and high-price tag have garnered plenty of criticism, most reviews of the finished product have been nothing but raves.

Photograph: Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

Just remember, if you’re looking to check out the sleek, minimal space for yourself, don’t forget your Queens Library card or you may have to leave empty handed! (Or, at the very least, with only a few new shots for your Instagram feed.)

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