Downtown Express photos by Julie Shaprio(left) and Elisabeth Robert (right)
Branch manager Billy Parrott welcomed the first library visitors Monday, top left. He and his staff issued 70 new library cards the first day, including one to Fletcher Willis, 3, who signed up with her mom Susan, above. Elizabeth Yuan and her daughter Madeleine were the first to enter, left. Percy Corcoran, who checked out the first book, opposite page left, and Marti Cohen-Wolf fought over a decade to get the library opened. The afternoon storytime drew a big crowd the first day.
Too popular to fail? B.P.C. Library draws crowds its first day
Shortly before the Battery Park City Branch Library opened for the first time Monday morning, Percy Corcoran stood outside, craning her neck to catch a glimpse of the books.
“We’ve been waiting for 12 years,” said Corcoran, who ran letter-writing campaigns to build the library in her neighborhood.
The last few minutes of waiting March 15 finally ended when Billy Parrott, the branch manager, pushed open the glass doors just after 10 a.m., welcoming in Corcoran and the handful of others who arrived early.
The first people to enter the $6.7 million library, just ahead of Corcoran, were Elizabeth Yuan and her 3-year-old daughter Madeleine.
“We’re very excited,” said Yuan, who lives near the library, which is in the base of the Riverhouse condo building on N. End Ave. By 10:15 a.m., Yuan and Madeleine were settled into the orange beanbag chairs in the children’s section, reading the picture book “No David!” by David Shannon.
Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert (top) and Julie Shapiro (bottom)
The library’s stroller parking area filled quickly Monday morning, and even more toddlers and parents flocked to a late-afternoon story time on the 10,000-square-foot library’s second floor. On the first day alone, the library issued 70 new library cards, many of them to children too young to write their own name — the library sets no minimum age.
While most of the library’s patrons Monday morning were from Battery Park City, Elmer Ortiz, 23, traveled all the way from Queens. A recent college graduate, Ortiz said he likes to go to new libraries because they have a better selection of movies and music. Half an hour after the library opened, Ortiz had already selected three anime DVDs and was browsing the CD section.
Parrott said it was a relief to finally open and see a steady stream of people flowing in. Minus a technical glitch (the computer system would not scan bar codes Monday morning, so the staff had to manually keep track of which items were being checked out), the first day went smoothly.
Fittingly, the very first book checked out of the library went to Corcoran, who picked Andrew Ross Sorkin’s “Too Big to Fail.” Corcoran said she was pleased with the branch’s floor-to-ceiling windows and broad selection of materials, though she was a bit uncertain about the modern decor, and said that perhaps some more traditional overstuffed armchairs could be ordered in the future.
Looking around the library Monday morning, Corcoran and fellow library advocate Marti Cohen-Wolf predicted that the bright space would soon become a gathering place for the community.
“This is the last day it will be easy to find a seat here,” Corcoran said.
The B.P.C. Library at 175 N. End Ave. is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library will hold a grand opening celebration Thurs., March 18 at 10 a.m., with other events throughout the day.
— Julie Shapiro