Huguenot Children's Library & Park
North Avenue, corner of Eastchester Road
New Rochelle, NY
Submitted by: Susan Moorhead
A wonderful, warm and whimsical library and a great park.
Volunteers took an empty, dilapidated, small brick building and a nothing park that nonetheless had a beautiful backdrop (New Rochelle's striking high school and small lake) and transformed it into a wonderful, warm and whimsical library and a great park that is now jammed with children at all times. It is functional, beautiful, and has completely changed the area and opened it up.
What Makes Huguenot Children's Library & Park a Great Place?
It stands before the high school; across the street is a busy section of streets and a firehouse heading into the Iona College area. The Huguenot Library bridges the downtown, with suburban houses on the other side of the park, creating a visual flow that was not there before.
It is a small library but it is used to the max most days - especially in summer when the back cement patio of the library holds free craft sessions with student volunteers. Children in the park can play, then do crafts, and then go into the library for a book (or to use the bathroom - a popular spot!)
Inside the library is an old fireplace and mantel that is flanked by comfy couches and chairs, and children's tables and a rocker, giving the feeling of a small special house. It's a great place to go in the rain - feels cozy. A second floor houses the nonfiction picture books and the middle reader fiction and has several nice tables and chairs and computers with games (computers also on the first floor).
It is very clean. The area feels safe as it is busy and lots of people are going in and out all of the time, and it is near a firehouse as well. People can park on the street, which is not inconvenient and, unlike downtown, is free parking.
Children, parents, nannies, and teens all regularly use the space. They also have music and story time groups meet in the downstairs basement.
I frequently bring my son there to meet others for a playdate. I also go to the park a lot with him and even if I do not always go to the library each time I go to the park, it is visually very pleasing and anchors the park. Also, knowing there is a public bathroom there makes me choose that park over any other we might go to (important with three year olds!)
History & Background
I think it serves as a brilliant example of how determined people with a vision can turn a section of a community around and create a space that seems like it was always there as it is a perfect fit and so useful and important.
New Rochelle Public Library: 914-632-7878
Huguenot Children's Library Branch: 914-632-8954