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The New York Public Library Rings In The Holiday Season With Wreaths for Its Lions, A Free Winter Concert, and A Display of Collection Items From Dickens and Others


The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts Concert Choir Will Perform Select Holiday and Winter Favorites on Nov. 24 at 5:15 p.m. 

NOVEMBER 18, 2015 – The New York Public Library is hosting a free winter concert on its steps on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 5:15 p.m. to mark this year’s appearance of wreaths on the iconic lions, Patience and Fortitude.

The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts Concert Choir – led by director Heidi Best and featuring approximately 50 high school students ranging from sophomores to seniors – will perform a selection of holiday and winter favorites on the steps of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, weather permitting.

The choir most recently shared the stage with school founder and legendary singer Tony Bennett at the World Series, singing “America the Beautiful.” Later this year, the choir will join 150 of its New York City high school peers in the “Somewhere Project,” Carnegie Hall’s production of West Side Story. Frank Sinatra School of the Arts is a public school in Queens where “Community Service Through the Arts” is emphasized. 

The concert highlights the beloved New York City tradition of placing wreaths on the Library’s 104-year-old marble lions. In 2004, the decades-old practice was halted to protect Patience and Fortitude, but it was recently revived when the Library crafted special wreaths that meet all preservation standards.

“Growing up in New York City, I always remember seeing wreaths on the lions at holiday time,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “We are so proud to continue that tradition, and welcome an amazing group of young, talented singers to mark the occasion.”

In addition to the wreaths, the Library will display a tree and various symbols of holidays and cultures in Astor Hall. It will also display a series of collection items related to the holiday season in the third floor McGraw Rotunda, including the copy of A Christmas Carol that Charles Dickens used for public readings, complete with his handwritten notes.

The display – called “A Writer's Christmas: Dickens & More” – will include various literary items from the Library’s Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature in addition to the Dickens volume, including:

  • A 1929 Christmas card from James Joyce to a friend.
  • A typed Christmas card from Jack Kerouac to his soon-to-be wife Stella, with a drawing.
  • A “season’s greetings” card signed by Maurice Sendak to Randall and Mary Jarrell.
  • Poetic Christmas greetings from Sean O’Casey and E. E. Cummings.
  • Books with Christmas themes by T. S. Eliot and Edmund Wilson.
  • Pen-and-ink drawings by Joseph Clayton Clark, a photograph of the “real” Tiny Tim, and porcelain figures connected to A Christmas Carol

The free display and holiday décor will be available to the public until Jan. 4.

Support for The New York Public Library’s Exhibitions Program has been provided by Celeste Bartos, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos Exhibitions Fund, and Jonathan Altman.


Media Contact:

Angela Montefinise |


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