Building Venues & Particulars
In the fall of 1999, the Graduate Center moved from its previous home on West 42nd Street to a new campus on Fifth Avenue at 34th Street. The interior of the landmark building, once the home of the B. Altman Department Store, was redesigned specifically for the Graduate Center's needs, serving as a thriving center of intellectual inquiry and exchange for the university, the city, and the national and international academic community. The main features include a light-filled three-story library that incorporates some of the historic design elements as well as a dissertation reading room and the Seymour B. Durst Old York Library and Reading Room; seven floors of classroom, student, and office space; a soaring glass-ceilinged dining commons; and a "cultural complex" of presentation spaces for the school's many scholarly gatherings and public programs. Included in the latter are a 389-seat auditorium with accompanying breakout spaces, a 180-seat recital hall with state-of-the-art acoustic design, a 70-seat multipurpose theater space, and an art gallery facing Fifth Avenue. There is also a first-floor snack bar and lounge, an exhibition hallway, music practice rooms, extensive computer access, and a skylight conference room, among myriad other resources and facilities.
The campus is at the heart of it all in New York City. Stand in front of the Graduate Center and you're facing the Empire State Building; walk around the block and you're in the quiet, residential Murray Hill neighborhood; head up Fifth Avenue and you're at the New York Public Library. And being located at the center of it all means it's easy to get around, with subway and bus lines, Grand Central, and Penn Station all nearby. But the Graduate Center is connected to New York City in more ways than its mid-Manhattan location. Sciences draw on laboratories at the senior college campuses and maintain formal relationships with such institutions as the New York Botanical Garden, the American Museum of Natural History, and the NYS Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities. Similarly, the city's renowned art museums and cultural institutions have close ties to the Graduate Center's arts and humanities programs, which collectively rank among the nation's best. The city's vast mosaic of neighborhoods encompass an entire world of ethnic studies, its throbbing urban environment presents a living lab of pressing social issues. What better place to study the world than at its center, to solve problems than at their source, to encounter ideas than at their origin?