3. New York Public Library Apartments

Rose Reading Room at NYPL

The New York Public Library holds many secrets, including hidden apartments for live-in library custodians. These apartments were spread throughout the different branch buildings in the library system. In addition to keeping the library clean, the main job of the custodian was to make sure that the furnaces kept burning. Even the 42nd Street branch had a secret apartment.

The Schwarzman Building apartment was occupied by superintendent John Fedeler and his family from 1911 to 1941. His daughter was even born in the library! Fedeler’s son took over the position in 1941. While the apartment at the Schwarzman building was large, with eight rooms, the size, and style of various library apartments varied throughout the library system. According to the New York Times, the last resident custodian retired in 2006 and all of the apartments have since been adapted for other library purposes.