Home ECONOMY NYC Morgan Library & Museum opens garden to public

NYC Morgan Library & Museum opens garden to public

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In the 116 years that J. Pierpont Morgan’s former Manhattan estate has existed, its decadent gardens have never been open to the public — until now.

Murray Hill’s historic Morgan Library & Museum has been a public institution since 1924, not to mention a stunning sight for locals to visit — but until the completion of a $13 million renovation, its lush outdoor spaces weren’t accessible.

“What’s the greatest pleasure is, for the first time, inviting the public in a limited manner into the gardens,” landscape designer Todd Longstaffe-Gowan told the New York Times of the recent comprehensive revamp, which took six years to complete. “It’s never, ever happened before.”

The Neoclassical building was commissioned by Morgan — best known for founding the eponymous bank — in 1902 and completed in 1906, at which point it stored his private library. In 1924, following the instructions in his father’s will, Morgan’s son made the library public — at least its indoor portion.

The Morgan’s garden architecture, which visitors can now see, includes the building’s original lioness statues.
Morgan Library Museum Renovation Garden
The outdoor grounds have never before been publicly accessible.
Morgan Library Museum Renovation Garden
The museum, as seen from 36th Street.
Morgan Library Museum Renovation Garden
Details on the building’s facade.
Morgan Library Museum Renovation Garden
The building’s original entrance is guarded by lions.
Morgan Library Museum Renovation Garden
The grounds during their renovation.
Morgan Library Museum Renovation Garden
The newly completed renovation took six years.

Now, though, with the renovation complete, the museum is heralding its newly redone grounds as “New York City’s newest greenspace” — a flower- and art-filled sanctuary among Manhattan’s skyscrapers. The haven is additionally meant to be something of an escape from America as Longstaffe-Gowans says, inspired by the late “unabashedly European” Morgan, he attempted to make the garden “very European and to make it something that invokes another world.”

“We are proud to have introduced a small oasis on a busy block in Murray Hill,” Morgan Library & Museum director Colin B. Bailey told The Post.

The renovation also included the addition of lighting “to give the library a presence in the evenings” and work on the limestone building, noted Bailey.

“The restoration program was very comprehensive, so we don’t imagine extensive work will be needed for many decades,” project lead Jennifer Schork told the Times.

This renovation follows a $4.5 million one completed at the Madison Avenue address in 2010. That one focused on increasing exhibition space, The Post reported at the time.

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