Astor Library (now Joseph Papp Theater)
425 Lafayette Street, South wing, Alexander Saeltzer [1853]; Center section, Griffith Thomas [1859]; North wing, Thomas Stent [1881]

John Jacob Astor indeed created a real estate legacy but his social standing in the city did not equal his wealth. His heirs proclaimed him a philanthropist by building the first wing of the Astor Library (the southern end) as a gift to the city--with strings attached. The arrival of German polytechnical graduates to America in the mid-19th century helped transmit the Round Arched Style to this country at this time. The Round Arched Style was an inexpensive but coherent and appropriate design for this this private/public building. Expanded twice since its original construction, the library is a rare surviving example of this style in NYC.

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