The National Archives at New York City

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the National Archives at New York City's Move

Review our Notice about the Move

Why is the National Archives moving out of the current location at 201 Varick Street, NYC?
We are moving for several reasons. Our new location will provide state-of-the-art storage facilities for our original records. We must provide a secure preservation environment so that current and future generations of researchers can use the holdings. The new location will also be more patron friendly, and will allow greater accessibility to our programs and services. It is a historic building fit to house the holdings of the National Archives.

Is the National Archives leaving New York?
No. We are staying in Manhattan and will be moving only 2 miles south to One Bowling Green.

When will the move take place?
We do not have an exact date but expect the move to take place Mid October 2012.

Will the New York office be closed for any period of time in connection with this move?
It will be necessary to close and/or limit some services when we make the physical move in October. We will do everything possible to keep any disruption in service at a minimum.

What will your new space look like?
At One Bowling Green we will have more space than we currently do to accommodate researchers, staff, volunteers, genealogists, teachers, students and the general public. Our space at One Bowling Green will have the same functions as our current space including a research room, computer search room, and a reference library.

Do I have to make an appointment to view original records?
We recommend that researchers wishing to use original unfilmed records contact us in advance so we can ensure that the records they wish to view are available for their visit. Please contact us via e-mail at newyork.archives@nara.gov, toll-free phone at 866.840.1752, or fax at 212.401.1638.

How will I gain access to New York records sent off-site?
We recommend that researchers wishing to use original records contact us in advance via e-mail at newyork.archives@nara.gov, toll-free phone at 866.840.1752, or fax at 212.401.1638. When you contact the New York office, our staff will help you work out a solution that best meets your research needs and assist you in arranging a visit to the appropriate location.

What will happen to the records?
The National Archives at New York City currently holds 100,000 cubic feet of original records from Federal agencies in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin islands. Currently half of our holdings are stored offsite. When we move to One Bowling Green, we will continue to store some records at our new location but the majority will be stored off-site. We will continue to provide access to all of our records at One Bowling Green, just as we now do at Varick Street for records stored off-site.

What will happen to the various microfilm collections?
Some microfilm will come with us to One Bowling Green. The microfilm not going with us was offered to other institutions. A wide variety of non-profit institutions will be receiving these microfilm publications.

What will happen to the New York State Archives microfilm that is currently at Varick Street?
We will take the Vital Records Indexes to One Bowling Green because it is heavily used by genealogists. The New York State Department of Health makes available for public use microfiche copies of older indexes to birth, marriage, and death certificates. The indexes cover the entire state outside of New York City and start in June 1880 (deaths) or 1881 (marriages and births). The National Archives at New York City holds a copy of this microfiche which is updated annually by the State Archives.

We will not be taking the New York State Microfilm (Select Publications). The National Archives at New York City received on deposit in 1995 select microfilm publications for the New York State Archives. Records reproduced in this series include documents from New York's Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches beginning around 1700 and ending in the 1980s. Some highlights from the collection include the records of the State Board of Charities, Bureau of Military Statistics, Department of Civil Service, Department of Environmental Conservation, and the courts of Probates and Chancery. These collections are rarely used and will be returned to the New York State Archives.

Will you be introducing new technology to better serve customers?
As we proceed with planning and design of the new facility, we will consider and implement, as we can afford, new equipment. We are particularly interested in improving ways for staff and patrons to copy/scan records.

What other research resources will be available at One Bowling Green?
We will continue to provide unlimited free access to online subscriptions services including Ancestry, Fold3, Heritage Quest, and ProQuest.

Will you continue to provide certified copies for all of your holdings?
Yes, materials on-site can be certified same day. We will arrange for timely delivery of certified copies of materials stored off-site.

Will you continue to provide emergency entitlement requests?
Yes, we can help you with an emergency request regardless of where the record is stored.

What kind of programs will you offer?
We will continue to offer genealogical, historical and education workshops at our facility. We will also continue general outreach programs and special events for the public. More information about our public programs can be found on our website at http://www.archives.gov/nyc/public/.

Will you have exhibits at the new location?
Yes. At One Bowling Green, we will share a number of public spaces with the other tenants, including a central rotunda, where we can host traveling exhibits. By sharing these public spaces of the building we can increase our public research room and computer search room space.

Will you need volunteers at our new location?
Yes. Our volunteers are vital to our mission. We want our volunteer program to grow even larger at One Bowling Green. For information on volunteer opportunities, please see our web site at: http://www.archives.gov/nyc/volunteer/index.html.

Where is One Bowling Green and what is the best way to get there?
One Bowling Green is located adjacent to the northeast corner of Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan. It has multiple mass transit options within easy walking distance of the building, such as the 1, 4, 5, J, M, Z, N, R, and W subway lines, the World Trade Center PATH trains, the Staten Island Ferry, and the M1, M6, M15 bus routes.

Will there be parking available?
There are a number of fee-based parking lots surrounding Battery Park.

What is One Bowling Green known for?
One Bowling Green is the site of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. The building houses a number of other government agencies, and cultural institutions, including the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of the American Indian and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

The building was designed by architect Cass Gilbert and completed in 1907. It is an exquisite example of the Beaux Arts style. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and named a city landmark by the New York Landmarks Commission in 1979. In October 1990, the building was re-designated from the U.S. Custom House at Bowling Green to the Alexander Hamilton United States Custom House, in recognition of Alexander Hamilton's accomplishments and contributions to this Country. Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury, and he founded a national bank, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the New York Post.

The U.S Custom House is located at Bowling Green, Manhattan's first parade ground and park. It was originally the site of the city's first custom house, which burned down in 1814. The Customs Service is the oldest Federal agency. Learn more about it at: http://www.cbp.gov/

How will you solicit public feedback and continue to promote transparency after the two public meetings on May 4, 2010?
The National Archives will host an information session on noon, Friday September 21, 2012 at the Naval Officer's Room, 3rd Floor of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. All public are welcome to attend. Please rsvp to newyork.archives@nara.gov.

In an ongoing effort to collect feedback the public may also contact in a variety of ways including our e-mail account (newyork.archives@nara.gov), regular mail, fax, or in-person. We will consider and respond to all suggestions so that the public understands when and why we have made certain decisions. We will also update our move page as needed to keep our customers informed.

Please note that on June 1, 2010, on our web site we posted a preliminary list of records and microfilm identified to remain on-site. [Complete list of holdings available online at www.archives.gov/nyc/holdings/index.html]. Since we have posted these preliminary lists on June 1, we have received limited feedback. We accepted all comments on the proposed lists from June to November. This comment period closed in December 2010 so that all comments could be considered as we complete the design phase of our space at One Bowling Green.

In the fall of 2010 we also started posting the latest design plans for comment. We welcome all public comments.

If I have any questions who should I contact?
All questions regarding this move should be directed to Patrick Connelly, Archives Director, National Archives at New York City by phone: 212.401.1623, fax: 212.401.1638, or email at patrick.connelly@nara.gov .

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