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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Patience and Fortitude


On this day of May 23rd in 1911, the New York Public Library (NYPL) was dedicated. As many people know the library at Fifth Avenue and Forty-Second Street attracts visitors from all over the world, many of whom come to see Patience and Fortitude, the world-renowned pair of marble lions that stand proudly before NYPL's Beaux-Arts building.

According to a NYPL web-page, "Henry Hope Reed in his book, The New York Public Library, about the architecture of  the Fifth Avenue building, the sculptor Edward Clark Potter obtained the commission for the lions on the recommendation of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of America's foremost sculptors. Potter was paid $8,000 for the modeling, and the Piccirilli Brothers executed the carving for $5,000, using pink Tennessee marble. After enduring almost a century of weather and pollution, in 2019 the lions were professionally cleaned and restored.  

Their nicknames have changed over the decades. First they were called Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, after The New York Public Library founders John Jacob Astor and James Lenox. Later, they were known as Lady Astor and Lord Lenox (even though they are both male lions). During the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia named them Patience and Fortitude, for the qualities he felt New Yorkers would need to survive the economic depression."

These names have stood the test of time: Fortitude sits to the north and Patience still guards the south side of the Library's steps as seen in the image atop this entry, which is included in volume three of my book series, Words In Our Beak.


I thought of these lions, or rather Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia's reasoning for naming them Patience and Fortitude during last evening's (5-22-2020) session of #ClapBecauseWeCare (to honor the first responders, health care professionals and essential workers who are helping people get through this pandemic) because the personal traits of patience and fortitude are certainly possessed by those people.

Last night (May 22nd) marked the 53rd session of the nightly event which was lively and filled with heartfelt emotions as usual. I'm including a few photo-ops from the event. The woman in the next image on the right is a loyal, regular participant.


The two women seen in the next sequence of photos aren't as regular as the others, but last evening they gave a boisterous performance using their garden railing as a musical instrument and their gardening tools to "play it," as evidenced directly below.


The following pictures feature fairly steady participants and while many participants in these sessions are likely not first responders, health care professionals or essential workers, I think we also show patience and fortitude by adhering to the restrictions while showing appreciation in whatever way we can.

(He has taken a video of a session from his window.)

Besides showing appreciation through tributes such as #ClapBecauseWeCare tributes and by practicing the traits known as patience and fortitude, the main thing that one needs to do is to wearing a face-mask when out in public.

Doing this is truly a sign of appreciation for our healthcare professionals, first responders and essential workers for most everyone knows, it has recently been noted that the importance of wearing a face-mask cannot be stressed enough as a means a to prevent one person from inadvertently spreading the coronavirus to another.

But the effect of one seeing so many people wearing masks has already had a profound psychological impact on many persons; therefore when Fine Art America (FAA) recently informed me that it had added the ability to imprint my images on cloth face-masks designed for everyday use when out in public through its sister site,, I was thrilled at the prospect of being able to have this done.

With so many people wearing face-masks, I started to think what it must be like for babies, toddlers, and older children — or residents of assisted living and nursing home facilities cut off from visits by family and friends — to be looking into the faces of adults wearing a “clinical–looking” mask.

How frightening and confusing that must be for them! I hope that seeing my images imprinted on face-masks makes the world a lot more cheerful for them.

I have joined with fellow FAA artists by selecting four of my images to be used with face-masks.

They can be seen in the following four images (or via the link to view them all together on FAA). Please note by clicking on a photo (below) for an individual mask, you can read specifics related to it.


Each mask, made from 100% polyester, is one-size-fits-all using two woven, elastic loops to secure it around the ears.

By the way, a press release announcing my masks ia also available. Please click here to read it and remember, when purchasing, be sure to read the full description on the product page.

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