"Brooklyn is booming and the library system doesn't want to sit on the sidelines and not use it as a chance to upgrade its branches," said Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban planning at New York University. "At a time when people don't want to raise taxes, taking advantage of the value of the property is one of the more intelligent ways to invest in the library system while getting new revenue."
And by "people" he means our billionaire Republican mayor, though it could just as well be the Republican congress or the Republican state senate. When your top policy goal is keeping taxes low on rich people, this is what you get: crony capitalism, public-private partnerships, and the sell-off of valuable public goods to the highest bidder. At least we haven't privatized the parking meters or sold off the bridges and tunnels.
But that one sentence explains why we have put condos in our parks, publicly financed private arenas, alienated parkland to private interests, and now selling off the libraries. It's the original sin of the Bloomberg administration. You can't have nice things unless my taxes stay low and my friends get to cherry pick the sweetest plums the city has to offer.