The New York Public Library’s historic Rose Main Reading Room and Bill Blass Public Catalog Room recently completed a major ceiling restoration that will ensure the rooms can continue to inspire visitors for generations to come. The rooms are open during regular library hours; daily tours of the Schwarzman Building at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. include both spaces, which are designated for research and quiet study.
The renovation was undertaken after a decorative rosette fell from the ceiling of the Rose Main Reading Room overnight while the library was closed in spring 2014. The event prompted a full-scale inspection of the soaring ceilings in both the Reading Room and the adjacent Bill Blass Public Catalog Room, which required the construction of special scaffolding because of their 52-foot height.
Engineers ultimately determined that the 105-year-old ceilings were in excellent condition for their age. But with the scaffolding already in place, the Library decided to reinforce the hundreds of rosettes in both rooms with steel cables, as well as conduct other restoration and repair work.
In addition to the ceiling restoration, the ceiling mural in the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room was fully recreated, to look as it originally did in 1911.