NYPL Hosts ‘Happy Hour’ with Asian American Writers’ Workshop on Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library’s Gorgeous New Rooftop




Image via NYPL. Stavos Niarchos Foundation Library Rooftop, 455 Fifth Avenue, NYC

This month, The New York Public Library will partner with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop to present a Rooftop Happy Hour on the fabulous new rooftop terrace of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library! The event will include readings of new work by Zain Khalid and Daphne Palais Andreades.

Image via NYPL. Stavos Niarchos Foundation Library Rooftop, 455 Fifth Avenue, NYC


Daphne Palasi Andreades is the author of the debut novel Brown Girls, which follows a group of young women of color, as they come-of-age in Queens, New York—the author’s hometown. Brown Girls is told through a choral voice and blurs poetry and prose to explore hybrid identities and solidarity across different diasporas. Published January 2022 by Random House, Brown Girls was selected as a New York Times Editor’s Choice and an Indies Next Pick. A graduate of CUNY and Columbia University’s MFA Fiction program, Daphne is now at work on several projects, including her second novel.

Zain Khalid has been published in the New Yorker, the Believer, the Los Angeles Review of BooksMcSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and elsewhere. He has also written for television. Brother Alive is his first novel. He lives in New York City.

Image via NYPL. Stavos Niarchos Foundation Library Rooftop, 455 Fifth Avenue, NYC

The Library, located on 40th Street and Fifth Avenue, completed its $200 million renovation, with a ribbon cutting ceremony in June of 2021. It was a total transformation of the Library’s central circulating library, which was originally constructed in 1914-15 as the Arnold Constable & Co department store ~ later occupied by the Library beginning in the 1970s.

The newly renovated 180,000 square feet includes:

  • Capacity for approximately 400,000 books and other browsable materials, the largest capacity for circulating materials in The New York Public Library system, which serves the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island
  • Double the seats as Mid-Manhattan, and 20,000 additional square feet.
  • A “Long Room”—the central element and most significant architectural intervention in the transformed branch—offering five levels of open, browsable book stacks fronting on a dramatic, 42-foot high atrium, as well as two connected floors of classrooms, education and programming spaces, meeting rooms, and consultation rooms. The Long Room was Houben’s innovative solution to the issue of holding hundreds of thousands of books and other materials while also offering inspiring, open, light-filled space full of seating.
  • The only free, publicly-accessible rooftop terrace in Midtown.
  • The 21,000-square-foot Thomas Yoseloff Business Center (named for the grandfather of NYPL Trustee Anthony Yoseloff), occupying an entire floor and providing the services and circulating collections of the former Science, Industry and Business Library. It will offer patrons access to electronic resources (such as Bloomberg Terminals), comprehensive print materials, and in-person programs, classes, 1-on-1 sessions, and offerings in the fields of personal finance and investing, small business resources, business and financial research, and career services.
  • The 20,000-square-foot Pasculano Learning Center—the Library’s largest adult learning center—which will provide a seamless continuum of educational opportunities to support lifelong learning (including technology training, ESOL and citizenship classes, and so on).
  • A new 26,000-square-foot floor of separate spaces entirely for kids and for teens; there were no dedicated spaces for children or young adults in the former Mid-Manhattan Library. The floor—located on the lower level of the building, which was formerly closed to the public and used for storage, space-inefficient book sorting equipment, and mechanical equipment—includes child-sized furniture and shelving, computers, books, programming spaces, podcasting studios, reading nooks (for any children, but specifically designed as quiet spaces for children with unique needs), and a book sorter that allows kids to return their books through a slot and watch as a conveyor belt sorts them into appropriate bins to be returned to the shelves.
  • Approximately 44,000-square-feet of open, general public library space, including double the previous seating, computers, shelves, and more, on the Library’s second through fourth floors, holding the majority of the library’s circulating collection for adults, named the Marron Family Circulating Collections in honor of long-serving NYPL trustee, and former Chairperson of the Board, Catherine Marron and her family and their lifetime of leadership giving.
Image via SNFL.org

Public art is an important part of the building’s design. For example, to further enliven the lower level, NYPL commissioned a mural from acclaimed local illustrator and graphic designer Melinda Beck. The mural by Beck, who has received numerous awards including two Emmy nominations and has worked with the US Postal Service and Time Magazine among others, was specifically selected and designed to speak to SNFL’s geographical and cultural position at the heart of New York City, wraps the walls of the Teen Room, and helps define the space as one that embraces creativity and curiosity.

Murals at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library by Melinda Beck. Image via SNF.org

Another major example of public art in the SNFL can be found on the ceiling of the Long Room. Spanning the 85 by 17 foot atrium is a puzzle-like composition created by artist Hayal Pozanti to celebrate the evolution of the written word. Her distinctive, colorful shapes correspond to the 31 characters of an invented alphabet the artist calls Instant Paradise. Developed through a process involving encryption and intuition, these complex geometric forms correlate to 12 milestones in the history of the written word – from the development of clay tablets and papyrus through to Braille, and the advent of electronic ink.

Photo credit: SNFL by Max Touhey

This event is co-presented with the Asian American Writer’s Workshop (AAWW), a national literary nonprofit dedicated to publishing and incubating work by Asian and Asian diasporic writers, poets, and artists.

Rooftop Happy Hour with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop is an in-person event, to take place on Friday, July 22, 2022 from 5:30 to 7:30pm at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), 7th Floor, 455 Fifth Avenue, NYC. Readings will begin at about 6:15pm.

Image via NYPL. Stavos Niarchos Foundation Library Rooftop, 455 Fifth Avenue, NYC

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library hours are Monday ~ Friday from 8am to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Follow on Instagram.

The New York Public Library’s free services and resources are made possible thanks to the support of the Friends of the Library. Join this group of Library lovers and take advantage of special membership benefits, like invitations to members-only virtual events, discounts at the Library Shop, and more.  Join now.