Monday, May 23, 2011

NYC Vintage Image: New York Public Library, 1911

The New York Public Library, on Fifth Avenue covers two city blocks from 40th to 42nd Streets. The handsome Beaux Arts building, constructed entirely of marble, cost $9 million. The cornerstone was laid in November 1902 and the library opened May 23, 1911.
Views of the main reading room: left is from the 1930s, right from the 1920s. Below: Today, gloriously, it looks the same.
Fifth Avenue & 42nd, Easter, 1913
The two twin male lions guarding the entrance of the New York Public Library’s main branch were called Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, after two NYPL benefactors, John Jacob Astor and James Lenox. But in the 1930s, with the first Great Depression taking its toll on the city, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia renamed them Patience and Fortitude, believing that these were the qualities city residents needed most to survive the horrible economic times... I'm thinking we're due for another name change with the second Depression today. How about Job and Cash?Below, opening day, May 23, 1911.