NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The kings of the concrete jungle are getting some much-needed spa time.

The marble lions perched outside the main branch of the New York Public Library will undergo some cleaning repairs next month.

(Credit: CBS2)

The iconic Midtown statues don’t get cleaned as often as you would think.

Though they can’t roar, Patience and Fortitude’s presence echoes through the streets of Midtown, as it has for over a century.

“They’re everywhere. As soon as you see them, you think New York,” tourist Alice Blanchard told CBS2’s Nina Kapur.

“They are an iconic feature of the library, so you have to make a picture of it,” said tourist Ralf Zimmer.

Tourists travel from all over to see the iconic statues. If you haven’t had the chance yet, you should do so before Sept. 2. To stay camera-ready, the marble lions will be covered, cleaned and repaired for nine weeks.

Web Extra: Cleaning up Patience & Fortitude at the New York Public Library

“The elements – wind, rain, snow, ice – all lead to the deterioration of the lions. So we monitor them yearly and on a roughly 7-10 year cycle, we do conservation treatment on them,” said Gennaro Oliva, senior director of facilities operations at the New York Public Library.

The lions will be cleaned and repaired for the first time since 2011. Tourists say for something that hasn’t received a bath in eight years, the cats look pretty good.

The iconic lions aren’t just a huge tourist destination, Hollywood has taken notice of them as well.

They’ve appeared in everything from Sex in the City: The Movie to the original Ghostbusters in 1984. Carrie Bradshaw almost marries long-time love interest Mr. Big at the library. Meantime, the Ghostbusters encountered their first sign of the afterlife in the reading room.

(Credit: CBS2)

“Ghostbusters was shot 30 years ago, and to do the shot, these branches weren’t in the way, and you know, it stood this test of time,” tourist David Blanchard told CBS2’s Nina Kapur.

So has their message. The lions were named by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia during the Great Depression to inspire New Yorkers to have patience and fortitude through tough times.

The restoration project will cost $250,000 and include laser repairs.

That money was raised through grants and donations.


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