Library Angels

How two familiar lion statues serve as an angelic reminder.

by - Posted on May 24, 2012

New York Public Library lions serve as an angelic reminder

If you’re familiar with the New York Public Library, even from photographs, you know the animal angels who guard it. Two marble lions sit regally in front of the famous Beaux-Arts building, right on 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

This afternoon on my lunch break I took a walk to visit them. Apparently they’ve enjoyed many nicknames in their 101-year tenure. But in the 1930s Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia called them Patience and Fortitude, imagining the qualities he believed New Yorkers would have to exhibit in order to get through the economic depression. The names stuck.

I like to spend a little time with Patience and Fortitude every now and then. They represent qualities I can fall short of, and to me send an angelic message. They remind me of the way I’d like to be, ideally. At least the lion’s share of the time!

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