MARINERS HARBOR — The New York Public Library cut the ribbon on its brand-new Mariners Harbor branch on Monday, after residents fought for decades to get it built.
The just-opened library at 206 South Ave. was designed to look like an open oyster, recalling the area's maritime history, and it also has oyster shells embedded in the concrete floor, said Anthony Marx, president of the NYPL.
"It is in the shape of an oyster," Marx said at the ribbon-cutting, "fitting the history of Staten Island and this neighborhood."
The $1.2 million library — which features separate spaces for adults, young adults and children, an outdoor reading room and dozens of computers — is more than three decades in the making, after Mariners Harbor residents began advocating for their own library branch.
"The years of waiting, the anxiety and anticipation has paid off," said Councilwoman Debi Rose, who started a 32-year fight for the library when she first joined Community Board 1.
"What a wonderful, shiny and bright Christmas gift for the Mariners Harbor and Arlington communities."
Belinda Dixon, a member of several community groups in the neighborhood, also fought to open the library and was excited to finally step into the building.
"You can only say, 'Hallelujah,'" she said. "This is beyond anything I could ever have dreamed of."
The 10,000-square-foot branch has a community room with a projection screen that will host educational programs, along with 10 laptops and 38 desktop computers, including some by Apple.
The library — the first new branch opened in the borough since 1996 — is the NYPL's 88th branch overall and 13th on Staten Island.
The new branch, which started construction in 2009, was funded by the city and the state.
"It took 32 years of my time, but we got it and it is magnificent," Dixon said at Monday's ribbon-cutting. "I knew sooner or later the library would come, I just believed in that dream."