Thanks to a generous grant from our Foundation along with donations from other caring New Yorkers, the New York Public Library’s lions Patience and Fortitude will be undergoing a complete refurbishment.   The iconic lion statues have guarded the Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building since 1911 and have become international symbols for equal access to knowledge and information. Starting September 2nd, they are going to be cleaned, repaired, and conserved over the course of a nine-week restoration process.   This grant is just a part of our longstanding support of the New York Public library system, which includes a recent $1 million grant to strengthen citywide summer reading and other youth educational programs over the next two years.  

“Patience and Fortitude, the New York Public Library's famed marble lions, share a history that is compatible with our own. They have stood strong through the city’s most incredible highs and the lowest of lows. We are proud to support the New York Public Library, our partner for nearly 80 years, to restore these iconic symbols to their former glory as they continue to welcome New Yorkers and visitors from around the world to a vital resource that provides communities across five boroughs with equal access to education, information, and opportunity”

- Heather Nesle, President, New York Life Foundation.

The lions, carved in the Bronx studios of the Piccirilli Brothers and named by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia  “Patience and Fortitude” during the Depression because he believed New Yorkers needed “patience and fortitude” to survive the tough times—require conservation approximately every seven to 10 years. As they are made with porous Tennessee pink marble, snow, rain, wind, traffic exhaust, and other elements take their toll over time. The 108-year-old lions are currently in need of a cleaning, and have several minor cracks and chips that need to be repaired.

After their mane makeovers the lions will stand proud for decades to come, welcoming future generations of visitors from around the world to New York City’s great den of knowledge: the New York Public Library. 

Go back to our newsroom to read more stories.

Lacey Siegel
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937

Related content