Staten Island Community Gets Back Its Library Much Improved

Finally, post-Hurricane Sandy, Staten Islanders have something to cheer about: Local civic leaders and elected officials joined executives of the New York Public Library on Tuesday in opening the newly renovated Stapleton branch, which, at 12,000 square feet, is now more than double its original size.

The library, at 132 Canal Street, combines the original 4,800-square-foot Carnegie-financed branch built in 1907 with a 7,000-square-foot addition that has reading rooms, lounges, computer access and a community room.

The renovation, which cost $15.2 million and took four years and was designed by Andrew Berman Architects and overseen by the City’s Department of Design and Construction, brings a much improved library to one of the island’s poorer neighborhoods.

“We know how much the residents of Stapleton wanted and needed their library back,” said Tony Marx, president of the New York Public Library, “and we’re so happy to say that it’s back and better than ever, now able to adequately serve the needs of this community.”

The Stapleton branch also has a new permanent boarder – an orphaned Teddy bear found outside the building several months ago as the staff prepared to return. The bear still needs a name. Suggestions?

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A Friendly Mugging

Dear Diary:

While walking quickly through the crowded Midtown streets en route to the 49th Street N train, I saw a roadblock on the corner of 50th and 8th, as several guys were selling their CD’s and taking up the whole sidewalk.

I decided to walk behind them, close to the curb, when one of them confronted me: “Man, I can’t you believe you just did that! You walked right behind our store.”

I looked back and realized he was referring to the small foldout table with a white tablecloth that held their various CD’s. I apologized and said I didn’t realize that it was their store.

He said, “Well, for disrespecting us, you gotta buy my CD.”

I looked into his angry eyes and realized that he was just an artist like me trying to sell his music. I asked him how much it was and he said, “Ten bucks.” I took out my wallet and grabbed a 20 when nine other rappers on the corner approached me and said: “You gotta buy ours, too. You disrespected all of us!”

I said, “I only have a 20, so I can only buy from two of you.” The left-out rappers pleaded, “How you gonna buy theirs, but not mine?”

At that point, I said: “You know what I do? I’m a comedian.” I showed them my composition notebook and said, “You see this? These are jokes.” One of them went, “For real?” I said, “Yup, I do the same thing you guys do.”

The rapper said, “He cool,” and let me proceed toward the subway, down 20 bucks.

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