The main reading room of the New York Public Library finally reopened after more than two years of heavy repairs.
Rose Main Reading Room closed in May 2014, after an ornamental plaster rosette fell from the 52-foot-tall ceiling of the reading room.
The library not only decided to replace the fallen rosette, they also wanted to reinforce the other 899 rosettes with steel cables. An artwork conservation firm helped recreate the damaged ceiling mural in the public catalog room. The Reading Room's famous chandeliers were also restored and fitted with LED lights.
The results of the renovation are simply incredible.
The Rose Main Reading Room is the engineering masterpiece of the Carrère and Hastings Architecture. The firm was one of the biggest Beaux-Arts architecture firms in the US. They won the competition to chose the architecture to build the New York Public Library in 1911
The Rose Main Reading Room measures 79 feet (24 meters) by 295 feet (90 meters), nearly two full blocks. The 52 feet high (16 meter) colossal ceilings display breathtaking murals of the sky, adding a sense of the Old World architecture and elegance in the modern era.
The Reading Room appeals to many book lovers. Its warm tones welcome visitors in to enjoy one of the largest book collections in the world. The artwork and intricately crafted rosettes add to the experience, transporting readers to another world almost as effectively as any novel.
An Illustrious History
For over a century, the Reading Room inspired writers. Norman Mailer, Elizabeth Bishop, Henry Miller and Alfred Kazin have all mentioned the Reading Room as a resource for their works. E.B. White even wrote a poem called "The Great Reading Room" after visiting the place.
This isn't the first renovation to the Reading Room. The Rose Main Reading Room was restored by famous real estate developer Frederick Phineas Rose in 1998. Thus, the room was renamed in honor of Rose's contribution and legacy to New York itself.
Building a colossal library in one of the best places in New York was an idea of Dr. John Shaw Billings, a brilliant librarian, and surgeon in the mid-1800s. He sketched his design of an enormous reading room surrounding seven floors of stacks. He even developed a rapid delivery system to distribute the library's resources as soon as possible.
The building process took a long time. The state employed 500 workers to spend two years preparing the site and dismantling the preexisting structure. The basement was ready in May 1902. Massive columns were installed in 1905, and the roof was finally ready by the end of 1906.
“The Library has eagerly anticipated the reopening of these glorious rooms, architectural gems which for over 100 years have been home to scholars, writers, students, and all members of the public who want to access our renowned research collections, learn, and create,” says NYPL President Tony Marx.
Now, the Rose Main Reading Room has been restored to a former glory.
Written by Tamar Melike Tegün