Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Main Building of New York Public Library to be Carved with the Name of Wall Street Philanthropist

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that Wall Street Financier Stephen A. Schwarzman's name would be carved into the facade of the New York Public Library (made world famous by the movie Ghostbusters in the 80's and now a major tourist attraction for this reason among many reasons).  Mr. Schwarzman gave $100 million to the Library's $1 billion renovation project, which was described as a very, very generous gift.  In making the donation, he stated that he was motivated by the enormity of the overhaul project.  He did not ask to have his name be carved into the building (but he didn't object either).  Mr. Schwarzman is also a library trustee but there was no perceived conflict of interest in his making the donation and the decision to rename the building after him.  The decision to carve his name into the building was described as being similar to the decision a century earlier to inscribe the names of the first philanthropists benefactors (i.e., Samuel J. Tilden, John Jacob Astor and James Lenox).  Below is an excerpt from the story:

On Tuesday, the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission officially agreed to change the name of the library’s main building to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, and revealed just how that name would be, if not shouted, then quietly yet firmly spoken to the world.

The main building of the library is being renamed in his honor after Mr. Schwarzman, a Wall Street financier, contributed $100 million to the institution, one of the largest gifts to a cultural institution in New York City. The gift is going toward a $1 billion overhaul of the library system.

The commission’s unanimous vote on Tuesday to approve the proposal removed the last hurdle to making the first major changes to the facade of the grand entrance of the building in a century.

While some opponents of the proposal worried that it could set a dangerous precedent, Paul LeClerc, the library’s president, promised the commission on Tuesday that there would never again be another name carved into the building’s facade.

See Article for full story.

AMT

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/nonprofit/2008/04/main-building-o.html

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