Long Island City is the largest community in Queens in both area and population. It consists of five neighborhoods: Astoria, north of Broadway; Hunter’s Point, south of Broadway to Newton Creek; Ravenswood, along the waterfront; Steinway on either side of Steinway Street, and Dutch Kills.
Hunter’s Point contains the railroad yards and most of the factories, light-industry plants, and fifty-story Citicorp tower. It was the principal western terminus of the Long Island Rail Road and the seat of an extensive freight business. Some of the most extensive oil refineries in the country were located in this portion of Long Island City, as well as also shipyards capable of building vessels of any size.
In 1895, Long Island City Businessman William Nelson accepted 7, 000 books as a payment for a debt. He offered the books to anyone who wanted to establish a library. Philanthropist Dr. Walter Frey and businessman George Clay took him up on this offer. The three presented their idea to Long Island City Mayor Horatio Sanford, who assigned $3000 to finance the library for one year. Jessie Hume served as the first librarian.
Almost one hundred years later, in October 1989, the Court Square Branch of the Queens Library system opened its doors to the public. Built by Citicorp as part of a 50 story office tower in Long Island City, the Court Square Branch was leased to the Queens Public Library for 30 years at $1 a year. The new branch got its name from the nearby historic landmark. The branch itself is approximately 2500sq.feet. It is unique for Queens Public Libraries in that it is the first time a branch library has been created in concert with a corporation in order to provide library materials to the general public. Another unique attribute of the Court Square branch is that approximately 80% of its customers live in areas other than Queens.
There is limited metered street parking in front of the library (45th Avenue) and streets surrounding the Citibank building. Non metered street parking is available in the area but it is very difficult to find an open space. There is a pay parking garage in back of the Court House on Court Square and Thompson Streets.