23. NYPL Lions and Rockefeller Center Sculptures Get Giant Masks

NYPL Lion masked with library in background

The two famous lions that stand guard in front of the New York Public Library (named Fortitude and Patience) have joined in the city’s pandemic fighting efforts. Each of the lions has been fitted a large mask to remind passerby on Fifth Avenue to do the same. The lion-sized masks are a staggering three feet wide and two feet tall, making sure to fully cover the mouths and noses of the stone creatures.

The gigantic masks are yet another event in what has been a momentous year for Patience and Fortitude. The two lions were restored last November, celebrated their 109th birthday in May, and were given oversized versions of some of the library’s most popular books to read in February. In other exciting news, the New York Public Library has reopened some of its branches for grab-and-go service. Like the lions outside though, masks will be mandatory.

Prometheus maskedPhoto by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer.

Not to be outdone by the New York Public Library’s famous lions, the statues at Rockefeller Center have also been fitted with masks. Statues like the iconic “Atlas” and his globe, the “Mankind Figures” (Maiden and Youth), and the golden “Prometheus” watching over the ice skating rink are all staying safe and wearing masks. Organized by the real estate investment firm Tishman Speyer as part of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), the initiative is meant to remind New Yorkers to wear their own masks and observe social distancing.

Rockefeller Center has been the site of several initiatives since the pandemic began, including the installation of a giant “New York Tough” logo on the ice rink in April and 30 Rock lighting up in blue for essential workers.