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New York Public Library Shows Off Its $50 Million Facelift

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[Photos by Will Femia and via New York Public Library.]

The main branch of the New York Public Library celebrates its 100th birthday this year, and the festivities kicked off today with a $50 million gift from the library to, er, itself. Officials cut the ribbon on the completed facade restoration of the iconic building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street (now known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building), a process that took three years and had the Carrère and Hastings-designed landmark looking pretty spooky. Hey, nobody ever said going under the knife is pretty.

The massive project involved the repair of over 7,000 instances of deterioration or distress in the 150,000-square-foot facade. All the marble was cleaned and the roof, sculptures, bronze doors and window frames were all restored. What wasn't touched? Patience and Fortitude, the lions that stand guard at the Fifth Avenue entrance. Those cuddly cats were restored in 2004. Our photographer Will Femia was on the scene, and the photo gallery also includes some great before-and-after photos provided by the NYPL. Now that's a library! Your move, Long Island City.
?Reporting by Maggie Shaw
· Historic, Three-Year Preservation Project Restores The Landmark Façade... [NYPL]