Obscura Society NYC: Jefferson Market Library, Collection & Clock Tower - Atlas Obscura

New York

Obscura Society NYC: Jefferson Market Library, Collection & Clock Tower

Come explore the historic collection of the Jefferson Market Library and climb the clock tower for a spectacular view

Depending on one's familiarity with the area, the building on the lot formed by the intersection of Greenwich Ave and West 10th Street is known as either the Third Judicial District Courthouse or its more recent incarnation, the Jefferson Market Library.

Originally built as a courthouse in 1874 it became known for the famous murder case of architect Stamford White. Seventy years later, through redistricting, it would cycle through a myriad of agencies including a police academy, and a community garden and recycling center. By 1959, the building stood empty, and would have gotten the wrecking ball if it weren't for a protest by a few village locals including writers E.E Cummings and Lewis Mumford.

The former courthouse still stands, and while it was re-purposed into a library, traces of its history remains. Its clock tower still rings on the hour, every hour, and the fireman’s lookout that’s wrapped around it provides one of the best unobstructed views of Greenwich Village. The library’s spiral stairs, Gothic-style stained glass windows, and collection of books on New York City’s history tells the story of a different time.

As a special treat for our attendees will have the chance to climb the clock tower and enjoy the excellent view of the Village.


February 22nd, 7:30-9pm.
Address: 425 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10011
We will be meeting in to foyer of the library. Please be prepared to climb up several flights of stairs in order to reach the clock tower.
Tickets are $12 and are not affiliated with the Jefferson Market Library.