Teen Center in Midtown offers NYC youths resources
BY HAEVEN GIBBONS
Inside the Stavros Niarchos Foundation
Library in Midtown Manhattan is a
special space dedicated to teens where
they study, learn to embroider, make music
or simply talk, laugh and socialize.
Before the Teen Center opened in July
2021, there were no public spaces solely
for teens in the midtown area besides the
teen center located in the basement of The
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the New
York Public Library’s main branch, but it
was the size of one of the study rooms at
the new Teen Center.
“The Teen Center hopes to be a space
that encourages young people to thrive in
ways that are meaningful to them,” said
Ricci Yuhico, managing librarian for young
adult services at the Stavros Niarchos
Foundation Library. “Literacy is not just
reading. It’s becoming literate in yourself
and literate in the ways that you want to
grow and continue becoming.”
Kids commute from every borough and
even New Jersey to use the center. Many go
to school close by and use the center each
day after school to do homework, hangout
with friends and even apply for college or
jobs. Some college freshmen also use the
space to study.
“I defi nitely feel like it is a safe space, and
it’s also a space where I feel valued in the
sense of it’s a space specifi cally for teens
which is not something that I typically
see,” said Kaelin Motsoasele, youth civics
intern at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation
Library. “The space represents the change
that I want to see in our society in the sense
of a focus on younger voices.”
The Teen Center includes a curated
selection of books, a computer lab outfi tted
with media production software and
hardware such as the Adobe Creative Suite
and 3D printers, study rooms, groups
tables, reading nooks, and a state-of-the-art
“When I heard what it was called, I was
like, ‘Literally yes.’ Like that’s what it is- it
is literally a teen center. It’s for the teens,
and it’s so nice because there’s teens studying
but also making music and talking and
playing games,” said Maya Smith who goes
to the center after school. “It’s so great.”
Olivia Donato goes to a performing arts
high school and uses the recording studio
to create and practice music. Before the
center opened, Donato would hang out
with friends in Bryant Park after school.
“This place helps us a lot because there
really are no other places just for us,” said
Donato who now hangs out with friends
Teens study and hangout at the Teen Center located in the Stavros Niarchos
Foundation Library in midtown.
and studies at the Teen Center most days
after school. “I cannot do my work at home
because I can’t concentrate, so I need a
place to be able to sit down and do my
work so that’s another way that this place
has really helped.”
Motsoasele also uses the center to do
work and avoid distractions at home. Since
the center is centrally located, Motsoasele
also uses the space to meet up with friends
COURTESY OF NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
before making plans.
Many of the teens had never visited the
library before the Teen Center opened.
Now, teens from all different backgrounds
and schools are able to meet each other and
learn about one another.
“It’s a place where teens can feel safe and
brave enough to be themselves, and it’s a
place for exploration and multiple tiers of
engagement,” Yuhico said.
Billionaire’s Row developer to build elevators for 57th St. station
The new elevator will be installed by a developer at the W. 56th Street and
Sixth Avenue entrance of the station.
BY KEVIN DUGGAN
Luxury developer Sedesco will build
two elevators for the F train’s 57th
Street station on Billionaire’s Row
in Midtown in exchange for more than an
acre of extra fl oor space for its planned
The Turkish real estate fi rm is the fi rst
PHOTO BY MARC A. HERMANN/MTA
private company to capitalize on a recentlyapproved
city zoning law change known
as Zoning for Accessibility that aims to
incentivize builders to make transit stations
more accessible in exchange for up to 20%
more square footage.
“This agreement is proof that the MTA’s
historic Capital Plan, along with partnering
with private developers, will allow the
Authority to modernize the entire transit
system as quickly and effi ciently as possible,”
said acting MTA Chair and CEO
Janno Lieber in a statement Tuesday, Dec. 7.
Under the proposal, the pair of fresh
elevators would come to the station that is
currently not accessible under the Americans
with Disabilities Act, including one
going from the southwest corner of West
56th Street and Sixth Avenue to a mezzanine,
and another from the mezzanine
to the platform.
Sedesco will also build an elevator machine
room, communications equipment
and reconfi gure the fare gates to make
room for the lower elevator.
The developer will foot the bill for
installing the elevators and provide an
additional $9.83 million to the MTA to
cover the cost of their maintenance and
replacement after an 18-year lifespan.
Under the recently-passed change in city
zoning regulations, the developer can add
53,029 square feet more fl oor space to its
63-story, 1,100-foot tall skyscraper planned
at 41-47 W. 57th Street.
The city expanded the incentive in
October for developers to build bigger
if they made transit upgrades, allowing
development sites within 500 feet of a
transit station to avail of the added square
This development can get the bonus because
it will rise about 250 feet away from
the subway stop. The transit incentive won’t
allow it to go taller, but add more bulk.
The MTA’s current $51.5 billion 2020-
2024 capital plan has $5.2 billion set aside
to make the transit system more accessible.
More than 70% of city’s 472 subway
stations are currently not wheelchair accessible
and the agency aims to make 50%
of its transit stops accessible by 2029.
The proposed tower’s sloping design is
by Dumbo-based architects OMA and will
join the array of slender high-end skyscrapers
dotting W. 57th Street.
The development has a total area of
318,172 square feet, which includes a
ground-fl oor restaurant, a hotel with 158
rooms between the second and 20th fl oors,
and 119 apartments above that, according
to public fi lings.
Local Community Board 5 gave an advisory
vote against the application during its
public review on Nov. 10, but the City Planning
Commission approved it on Dec. 1.
The developer plans to break ground on
the tower in 2022 and wrap up construction
about four years later in 2026.
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