One of my favorite buildings in New York is the Stephen A. Schwartzman Building which serves as the primary New York City Library Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street next to Bryant Park. I have spent many happy hours writing there in the astonishing Rose Reading Room. And every time I visit, Patience and Fortitude have been there to greet me.
Patience and Fortitude are the marble lion statues that flank the front entrance. They were named by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia during the Great Depression as the qualities New Yorkers needed to get through that crisis. The same traits necessary to survive our current pandemic. The main library building was opened to the public on May 23, 1911 as seen above.
But our good leonine mascots were mounted on their pedestals in advance of the public opening 100 years ago today on May 11, 1911. So happy 100th to my treasured symbols of this great city. They are stalwart and steadfast and have been for a full century. May you also find Patience and Fortitude as we work out of these trying times.
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