One of the most famous and beloved libraries in the world “ the New York Public Library, with the famous lion statues standing guard out front “ is getting a new name: The Stephen A. Schwarzman Library.
Who is Stephen A. Schwarzman, you ask? According to The New York Times, he’s some rich guy who makes a living buying and selling things. Schwarzman is donating $100-million to the library, which is splendid and all, but does it really give him the right to recast the entire institution in his image?
Mr. Schwarzman said it was the library that proposed renaming the landmark building. They said, ˜We’d like you to be the lead gift and give us $100 million and we’d like to rename the main branch after you,’ he said. I said, ˜That sounds pretty good.’
Still, the change will doubtless invite spirited commentary. Mr. Schwarzman has become something of a lightning rod for critics of Wall Street excess, especially the high-spending ways of private-equity chiefs.
The library itself has drawn criticism for some other transactions, like selling the Donnell branch in Midtown Manhattan in November to Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. for $59 million. The branch will be razed to make way for an 11-story hotel, with the library taking over the first floor and an underground level.