4. The Jefferson Market Library (1877)
The Jefferson Market Library building had a long list of past lives prior to its opening as a library in 1967. The building was constructed between 1875 and 1877 by architects Frederick Clark Withers and Calvert Vaux in a Victorian Gothic style. The structure has hosted a courthouse, a police court, a holding room for prisoners, and a fire watcher’s balcony. By 1959, the building was abandoned and overrun by animals such as birds and rats.
In an effort to save the building, Mayor Robert F. Wagner — motivated by members of the Greenwich Village community — made the decision to preserve the space through its conversion into a public library. From here, The Jefferson Market Library was born. One of the most recognizable elements of the Jefferson Market Library is its clock tower, which boasts a 360-degree view of New York City. The library occasionally opens the clock tower for tours to our Untapped New York Insiders.