September 14, 2016
The NYPL’s Rose Reading Room to reopen in October
by Julia Fleischaker
After two years of renovations, the New York Public Library’s historic Rose Reading Room will finally reopen to the public on October 5. The renovation project was undertaken in order to “repair slight cracking in the ceiling facades and will secure the rooms’ iconic plaster rosettes.”
The ceilings, built in 1911 along with the rest of the library, were the focus of repairs. According to Gothamist’s Jen Carlson, the project involved:
- Recreating and replacing the rosette that fell
- Reinforcing all 900 rosettes in both rooms with steel cables
- Enlisting renowned muralists EverGreene Architectural Arts to recreate a 27 by 33 foot James Wall Finn mural on the ceiling of the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room.
- Restoration of the Room’s chandeliers, including putting in LED lights.
Through October 9, the NYPL will have an exhibition called Preserving a Masterpiece: From Soaring Ceilings to Subterranean Storage. It features over seventy-five historical photos and
documents the building’s history and ongoing preservation efforts, such as the current restoration of the Rose Main Reading Room and the expansion of underground collections facilities beneath Bryant Park. The exhibition also includes historic photos from the construction of the building and its early years, as well as two decorative plaster rosettes from the Rose Main Reading Room ceiling. Preserving a Masterpiece allows visitors to peer into the past to discover the building’s beginnings, while exploring some of the many chapters it has witnessed through time.
And by all means, for another look at the life and (mis)management of the iconic library, read Patience and Fortitude: Power, Real Estate, and the Fight to Save a Public Library by Scott Sherman.
Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.