6. Ottendorfer Library

Opened in 1884, the Ottendorfer is located on 135 Second Avenue. The neo-Italian Renaissance and terracotta putti building was designed by German architect William Schickel and is the city’s first free public library. The namesake of the library, Oswald Ottendorf, who owned the Staats-Zeitung newspaper, gifted the branch to New York City.

Ottendorf’s goal for the library was to assist German immigrants with fitting into American society by providing an evenly split library of books in English and German. The library has continued this goal and expanded it to include other languages in addition to German.

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