Iconic New York Public Library lions to get a laser cleaning as part of conservation effort

Posted On Mon, August 12, 2019 By

Posted On Mon, August 12, 2019 By In City Living

Photo credit: Jonathan Blanc / NYPL.

The iconic lions standing guard outside the The New York Public Library’s 42nd Street location are getting some much-needed grooming this fall. The majestic pair–named Patience and Fortitude–have been in place since 1911 as international symbols for access to knowledge and information. As part of a conservation effort that happens every 7 to 10 years, the stone sentries will receive repairs to cracks and chips and laser cleanings.

The lions were carved from Tennessee pink marble in the Bronx studios of the Piccirilli Brothers, who turned monumental slabs of marble into some of the nation’s recognizable icons including the senate pediment of the US Capitol Building and the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia bestowed their hope-inspiring names during the Depression because he believed New Yorkers needed “patience and fortitude” to get through tough times. Snow, rain, wind and traffic exhaust take their toll on the statues, hence the need for spa time. The lions were last conserved in 2011.

The lions will be covered during the conservation period. The $250,000 project is set to begin the week of September 2, with funding courtesy of The New York Life Foundation and donations from hundreds of New Yorkers. The conservation project is one of several renovations underway at the Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

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Neighborhoods : Midtown East

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