After recent pro-Palestinian rallies left blood-red handprints on the historic Manhattan structure, the New York Public Library is confronted with cleaning charges of up to $75,000.
Some of the carved marble reliefs in the Stephen A. Schwarzman building, the library’s Midtown flagship, may have to be replaced due to its significant damage.
The protestors who caused the damage disrupted the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, smashing the marble bases of the building’s famous columns. Damage estimates range from $60,000 to $75,000, making it “the most expensive and significant” damage.
Cleaning the damage without making it worse requires a lot of solvents applied over several days. In 2008, a wealthy Jewish businessman and benefactor, Stephen A. Schwarzman, contributed $100 million to the library’s expansion, and the building is named after him. On Thursday, police took 34 demonstrators into custody and charged them with harassment and disorderly behavior, among other charges.
On Thanksgiving Day, hundreds of demonstrators surrounded the building, shouting “Save the children!” and “End all U.S. funding to apartheid Israel!” while brandishing Palestinian flags. Triggering three demonstrations, the Stephen A. Schwarzman building on Fifth Avenue was vandalized with dark green spray paint, several blood-red handprints, thick red paint drips, and graffiti on the famous columns.
The green and red colors of the Palestinian flag were deliberately used to deface the library while sending their message.
The responsibility for paying the $75,000 has not been readily determined. The library’s director of facilities said that removing the building’s black paint could require more than one effort.
Schwartzman heads the private equity company Blackstone as chairman and chief executive officer. He is Jewish.
On Thursday, to cause traffic disruptions, some of the pro-Palestinian activists glued their hands to the pavement in the center of Sixth Avenue while others donned white jumpsuits and covered themselves in fake blood.