109 years ago on May 23rd, 1911
Opening ceremony for the main branch of the NY Public Library
It had taken 10 years of construction, but the former Croton Reservoir was now the home of the largest marble structure in the United States. The celebration was presided over by President William Howard Taft, Governor Dix, and Mayor Gaynor, and attracted an audience of 15,000 attendees. The building opened to the public the following day and welcomed an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 visitors. Although the two iconic lion statues outside the main entrance were nicknamed Patience and Fortitude by Mayor La Guardia in the 1930s, they were originally known as Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, after the Astor and Lenox libraries that had been consolidated to become the main branch of the public library system. Today, there are 92 New York Public Library locations across Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx.