The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Monday, October 20, 2014


Historic, Three-Year Preservation Project Restores The Landmark Façade of the Library On 42nd Street
Ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo: William Alatriste.
NEW YORK, NY.- The New York Public Library has just completed a three-year, $50 million restoration and preservation of the landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street, which has stood as an impressive symbol of opportunity and access for the people of New York City and the world for a century. The unveiling of the newly restored façade represents the start of a year-long celebration in the building’s honor, which will look back with reverence at all it has meant to the public while also looking towards a bright and exciting future.

The restoration project involved the repair of over 7,000 instances of deterioration or distress in the historic 150,000-square-foot façade, which was designed by legendary architects Carrère and Hastings. In addition, the façade’s Vermont marble was cleaned and returned to its brilliant white color and the roof, sculptures and bronze doors and window frames were all restored.

“I’m ecstatic that – with the generous help from elected officials, private donors and brilliant artisans – we’ve succeeded in returning one of the most important library buildings in history to its original beauty and grandeur,” said NYPL President Paul LeClerc, who was instrumental in launching and overseeing the façade restoration project. “Its magnificence is a visual reminder of how centrally important reading, learning, and creating are to a vibrant and democratic society. No other city in the world, now or ever, has made such immense collections and superb services freely available to everyone.”

NYPL Chairman of the Board Catherine C. Marron said, “Just in time for its 100th birthday, the Library’s landmark 42 Street building has undergone a transformation that has left it as magnificent as the day it opened on May 23, 1911. The Trustees and staff are immensely proud of the project, and thrilled that anyone who walks up the building’s front steps into a world of access and opportunity will now see the building in all of its original glory. Simply put, the building is beautiful, and poised to stand as an architectural and cultural landmark for another 100 years and beyond.”

Restoration of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building's façade (which did not include the two iconic lions Patience and Fortitude, which were restored in 2004 with a private gift and only cleaned during this project) was made possible through the generosity of the Empire State Development Corporation, Virginia James, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, Community Capital Assistance Program, Judy and John M. Angelo, Mary McConnell Bailey, and Jacqueline Fowler.

Special thanks to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former Governor George Pataki, State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, and State Senator Liz Krueger.

“For 100 years, the New York Public Library on 42nd Street has been one of New York City’s most celebrated landmarks,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “Thanks to the façade restoration project, the library – long a central and welcoming place for New Yorkers – has reclaimed its original brilliance.”

“I applaud and thank the New York Public Library for once again restoring a cherished piece of New York City history,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The library is not only a New York City icon, it is also a beautiful landmark that is known world-wide as the center for information and culture in the heart of Manhattan. One of the most important library buildings in history, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street will now continue to be just as beautiful as it was the first day it opened its doors.”

“The New York Public Library is one of New York State’s unique treasures,” said Empire State Development Executive Director Peter W. Davidson. “With an impressive research collection, it is one of the largest libraries in the country. Its rich heritage and landmark status made this restoration project incredibly important and I applaud the New York Public Library for their efforts to restore the library to its original splendor.”

The façade restoration project was managed by NYPL’s Capital Planning and Construction Office and Vice President for Capital Planning and Construction Joanna Pestka. The lead architects were Timothy Allanbrook and Kyle Normandin of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (WJE). The prime restoration contractor was Nicholson & Galloway.

"The entire team, starting from the architect, and including all contractors, artists and managers, not only represented world class skills in preservation and restoration, but they dedicated their whole knowledge, attention, time and heart to the project from day one to the end. It was a very focused, thoughtful and carefully executed work.,” Pestka said. “The whole project was a labor of love."

A survey of the building’s condition by WJE in preparation for the Centennial revealed severe deterioration and soiling of the façade, particularly in areas such as the Corinthian column capitals, lion head keystones and scroll modillions. The survey also revealed roof damage, severe oxidization of the building’s bronze doors and window casings, and cracking, surface loss and other problems with the sculptures, including the six colossal figures by Paul Wayland Bartlett over the columns, and the two fountains by sculptor Frederick MacMonnies, who also carved the Washington Square Park Arch and the Nathan Hale statue in City Hall Park.

Actual restoration began in 2008. Repairs included installing over 2,000 individually carved marble stones - called dutchmen - to replace damaged pieces of the façade. These replaced elements – such as the noses and chins of the lion head keystones – were carved by Master Stone Carver Shi-Hia Chen of B & H Art-In-Architecture Limited. All of the sculptures – originally carved by a series of famous artists - were repaired under the watchful eye of Mark Rabinowitz at Conservation Solutions, the fine art conservation consultant.

Other contractors involved in the restoration include Milner + Carr Conservation LLC (stone conservation), Stuart Dean (architectural bronze restoration) and URS Corporation (construction managers).

"Our goal in the restoration of this glorious building was to balance four factors: preservation of original material, cleanliness, safety, and cost,” said architect Allanbrook. “These sometimes contradictory factors influenced every decision from the overall restorative treatments to the individual repairs on each piece of marble. All of us, from draftsman to craftsman, are extremely proud of the accomplishment and I believe that the results speak for themselves. For me personally, this has been a career defining project."

The end result of the work is a completely restored, prime example of Beaux-Arts architecture returned to the original grandeur and form that prompted New York City Mayor William Jay Gaynor to say in 1913, “Who can pass by that building for the first time without stopping?”

“The New York Public Library’s superb and careful restoration once again demonstrates its deep respect for this masterpiece of Beaux-Arts architecture,” said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney.

The concept for the building began in 1895, with the formation of The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. Before then, New York City relied on private libraries, particularly the Astor Library founded by John Jacob Astor and the Lenox Library formed by James Lenox. When former New York governor Samuel Tilden left a large portion of his fortune for the formation of a public library system, the Tilden Trust forged a historic partnership with the two private libraries, and created the mission “to establish and maintain a free public library and reading room in the City of New York.”

In 1896, a bill was passed by the State Legislature authorizing the razing of the Croton Reservoir and the construction of a library building.

On May 23, 1911, the building – which immediately became known for its architecture, sculpture and ornamentation – opened after 12 years of construction.

One of the most recognizable features remains the magnificent The Deborah, Jonathan F. P., Samuel Priest, and Adam R. Rose Main Reading Room on the third floor, which is nearly the length of a football field and offers 636 seats and 42 tables. The beautiful room, with 18 chandeliers, ceiling murals and fine wooden furniture, is reminiscent of the great libraries of Europe with one notable exception: the only criterion for using the room is curiosity.

On the building’s opening day, United States President Howard Taft said, “This day crowns a work of National importance. The dedication of this beautiful structure for the spread of knowledge among the people marks not only the consummation of a noteworthy plan for bringing within the grasp of the humblest and poorest citizen the opportunity for acquiring information on every subject of every kind, but it furnishes a model and example for other cities which have been struggling with the same problem, and points for them the true way.”

Over time, the Library became home to one of the world’s greatest humanities and social research collections, comprised of rare books, manuscripts, letters, periodicals, prints, historic records and photography, among other treasures. The materials are stored in 88 miles of underground stacks. Thousands upon thousands of writers have used the Library’s collections to create books, articles, films and other scholarly and cultural works. The Library and its triple-arched portico have also been immortalized in many popular films, including “Breakfast At Tiffany’s,” “Ghostbusters” and “Sex and the City.”

The building became a National Historic Landmark in 1965, and was named for Library Trustee Stephen A. Schwarzman in 2008 after his historic $100 million donation, continuing the long tradition of philanthropy at NYPL.

To mark the building’s Centennial, the NYPL will soon embark on a celebration entitled “Find The Future,” which centers around a Monday, May 23 rededication ceremony on the newly-restored front steps. Millions upon millions of people have found their futures, changed the world with their writings and enriched their own lives by using the collections, services and staff expertise available for free at the Library. Now, as the Library prepares to embark on its second century of service, it is a time to reflect on its past contributions to the welfare of New York and the nation, and to project its vision of future service.

Other events planned to mark the Centennial include:

• An exhibition that highlights hundreds of items from the building’s collections
• A book distributed free throughout New York City published by Penguin Classics (which is celebrating its 65th anniversary) highlighting luminaries and their favorite items from the collections
• An interactive, live-action “game” incorporating our collections and played in the building as well as online by famed game designer Jane McGonigal
• A Centennial dinner with celebrity guests that will take place in various rooms of the Schwarzman Building
• And various special Centennial adult and children’s programs





Today's News

February 3, 2011

Art Historian Silvano Vinceti Claims Male Model Behind Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa

National Gallery Presents Historical and Scientific Studies on Degas Sculpture Collection

Israeli Archaeologists Find a 1,500-Year-Old Byzantine Church Southwest of Jerusalem

INAH Researchers Find 8 Camps Occupied by Nomadic Groups, Some of Them, 8,000 Years Ago

Art Institute Presents Works by Celebrated Swiss Contemporary Artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss

With Financial Crisis a Distant Memory and as Art Market Booms, Some See the Risk of Bust

Historic, Three-Year Preservation Project Restores The Landmark Façade of the Library On 42nd Street

Auschwitz Decays Due to Age and Mass Tourism, Prompting Preservation Effort

Mid-Career Overview of Vicky Civera's Work at the Valencian Institute of Modern Art

Anri Sala's First Solo Exhibition in Canada Opens at the Musée d'art Contemporain de Montreal

Solo Exhibition of New Paintings and Works on Paper by Robert Zandvliet at Peter Blum Gallery

World's First Museum Exhibit Dedicated to Women Who Rock Opens at the Rock Hall this Spring

Exhibition of Polish Design 1955-1968 from the Collection of the National Museum in Warsaw

First U.S. Solo Museum Show of Gabriel Kuri at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston

Collection of Contemporary Bengali Scrolls Leave Liverpool to Tell Tales from India

John Miller Awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize

Posing Beauty: African-American Images from the 1890s to the Present at Newark Museum

Generali Foundation Presents "unExhibit", an Exhibition by International Artists

Homage to Yosl Bergner: Illustrations to Franz Kafka's Oeuvre at Tal Aviv Museum of Art

University of Pennsylvania Museum Removes Mummies After China Objects

Hungarian Revolutionary Posters and Plywood Featured in New Exhibitions at MoMA

Dual Exhibitions Present Changes in Urban Life and Photography Over the Last 60 Years

International Museums on High Alert for Looted Ancient Egyptian Artifacts Due to Crisis

Ryan O'Neal Donates Farrah Fawcett's Red Swimsuit to Museum of American History

Ten Museums in Running for £100,000 "Museum of the Year" Art Fund Prize 2011

Leading Contemporary Figurative Painter John Wonnacott Exhibits at Agnew's

Studio Museum Launches Two New Initiatives: Studio (un)framed and Studio Lab

First "Bat-man" Comic Proof Pages, Saved from the Trash in Queens, Highlight Comics Event at Heritage Auctions

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site