New York Public Library’s Cleaning Costs Rise After Protests

The renowned Stephen A. Schwarzman building of the New York Public Library may need to have some of its carved reliefs rebuilt due to protesters’ at least $75,000 worth of graffiti.

According to officials, within the past several weeks, at least three different pro-Palestinian protests have caused damage.

On Thanksgiving Day, however, demonstrators smeared crimson handprints on the steps, fountain, and facade and sprayed “Free Palestine” with dark green paint, causing the most damage.

34 people were taken into custody as a result of the protests that day, which also included attempts to block the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Thirty of those received court summons. It is unknown how many of those arrests took place at the library, if any at all.

The New York Public Library is looking at a hefty cleanup bill after Pro-Palestinian protests caused damage to the historic main building. Officials there say the worst of the vandalism happened on Thanksgiving Day:

The costs of cleanup come as New York’s libraries prepare for sharp budget cuts; they have already decided to stop offering Sunday services beginning the following week.

According to Garrett Bergen, the library’s director of facilities, the graffiti damage from Thursday covered portions of the marble where donors’ names are carved with fine striations that are easily destroyed by cleaning operations.

According to him, removing dark paint from the structure involves several solvent applications spread over several days.

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If a rosette is too damaged for the paint to be removed, we might need to replace some of the components. Thus, it’s a little hazy, according to Bergen.

Officials from the NYPD stated on Wednesday that they anticipated demonstrations during the Thanksgiving parade. However, Bergen noted that there was little staffing and the library was closed on the holiday.

Barricades and other measures were used by police and library staff in prior protests to prevent protesters from causing significant damage.

“The Friday before Thanksgiving we had more support from the police department, and we barricaded the fine art sculptures and the monuments,” Bergen said.

He said that people walking by had been verbally supporting the building’s cleaning staff. According to library authorities, there isn’t presently a fundraising initiative in place to cover the cost of the graffiti repair.

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