To the editor:
I use the Spuyten Duyvil Library regularly, visiting it at least twice a week to return and pick up books for pleasure and research, and DVDs for the same purposes.
My family moved to Riverdale in 1996, with my daughter attending P.S. 24. During those years, we spent much time there, discovering books and bringing them home to read. This library continues to provide a welcoming space for children and their nannies or family, an afterschool site for students of both P.S. 24 and Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy during the school year. And it’s a place that adults — and “seniors” on fixed incomes — can access computers, periodicals, and most obviously, books, and a variety of free programs for the community.
On Saturday, July 20, I made my run to the library around 2 p.m. The library is a designated “cooling center” by the City of New York. As a senior, I get robo-calls from the city telling me to go to such a center for health and safety purposes, if necessary.
I received one that morning. Some city libraries were even open the next day, a Sunday, because of the heat wave. However, on a recent Saturday in the middle of that heat, the Spuyten Duyvil Library — a designated “cooling center” — did not have air-conditioning, one more case of “irony” in these ironic times.
I have come upon this same situation several times during recent weeks. One time, Freon had just been installed, and the next day the air-conditioning was out again. One day within the next two weeks during my visit, the repairman was there.
A staff member told me that they called the library’s HVAC a “dinosaur” as it is the same one installed in the library 50 years ago. Parts for the unit can no longer be purchased, but have to be made special order.
Councilman Andrew Cohen’s office knows of this condition, but the funds for a new system — which have been requested now for several years — have never been allocated. Yet next door in Seton Park, a $1.9 million restoration is in progress.
I do not deny the benefits of this park, but the money is primarily for reconstruction of the playing fields, I believe. The human being needs support for both the body and the mind, a single system.
The benefits to our community and the people who live here from both these city offerings is enormous, but I do wonder why the library’s HVAC system does not figure in any budget allocations when we can spend almost $2 million on a playing field.
Please look into this and write a story about it. Thank you.