ASTORIA – New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides, along with representatives from the Queens Public Library (QPL), New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), and community leaders today held a community forum to show the latest renderings of the QPL Astoria Branch. The Carnegie library, originally constructed in 1904, will soon enter the next phase of the renovation process.
“Bringing equity to our neighbors west of 21st Street has been one of my top priorities since Day One,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “I’m happy that today, we can come together with our friends and neighbors and see the progress that has been made on bringing a refreshed library space that everyone can enjoy more fully. I want to thank the Queens Public Library and DDC staff for their hard work on this project.”
“These renderings reflect the progress that has been made to date in transforming Astoria library into a more inspiring and inviting space that is accessible to all,” said QPL President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “We are grateful to Council Member Costa Constantinides for his investment in the building’s renovation, which is yet another example of his steadfast commitment to our libraries, and to the New York City Department of Design and Construction for developing an excellent design.”
“Libraries are the heart of a community, a resource essential for growth and understanding for all ages, from tots to seniors. With these upgrades, especially accessibility, all of our community will now be able to share in this great enhanced space,” said Old Astoria Neighborhood Association President Richard Khuzami.
Constantinides, in partnership with Speaker Corey Johnson, allocated $3.25 million to the Astoria Library in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. Since taking office in 2014, Constantinides has now secured nearly $9 million for renovations at the library, just one of four remaining Carnegie Libraries in Queens.
As part of the project, the library will be fully upgraded to make the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including the addition of a new elevator, restrooms, and a new vestibule to assist with entry and exit. The staff spaces will also be renovated and reorganized and each floor will have its flooring, ceiling, and lighting redone.
The Astoria Branch of the QPL was one of seven Queens libraries to receive a $240,000 construction grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. In 1938, the branch received five Works Progress Administration/Federal Art Project murals by artist Max Spivak, all of which were severely damaged over time. Two of the murals, “Grand Finale of an Opera” and “Circus,” were restored through an Adopt-A-Mural program and rededicated at the branch in 2003.
This project is part of a major $25 million investment in the community west of 21st Street, a historically neglected and redlined area that saw generations of underinvestment.
Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council's 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the Chair of the City Council's Environmental Protection Committee and sits on the Resiliency, Sanitation, and Technology Committees. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.