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New York Public Library Raises $5.8M in Critical Funds at Glamorous Library Lions Gala

On Monday, Nov. The New York Public Library organized the Library Lions Gala.

The annual event raises significant funds to support the library’s mission to inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge and empower communities across its 92 neighborhood branches.

More than 350 in attendance, including New York State Governor Kathy Hochul and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, gathered in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building for a dinner and program.

The evening — which celebrated the library’s 125th anniversary last year — raised nearly $5.8 million, more than double the previous record.

On Monday, November 8, The New York Public Library hosted the Library Lions Gala.  The annual event raises critical funds to support the library's mission to inspire lifelong learning, increase knowledge and empower communities across their 92 neighborhood branches

On Monday, November 8, The New York Public Library hosted the Library Lions Gala. The annual event raises critical funds to support the library’s mission to inspire lifelong learning, increase knowledge and empower communities across their 92 neighborhood branches

Before dinner, there was a delicious cocktail hour on the first floor of the library, complete with passed hors d'oeuvres and a live string quartet

Before dinner, there was a delicious cocktail hour on the first floor of the library, complete with passed hors d'oeuvres and a live string quartet

Before dinner, there was a delicious cocktail hour on the first floor of the library, complete with passed hors d’oeuvres and a live string quartet

The Lions honored at this year's Gala included philanthropic leader Darren Walker (far left), journalist Tina Brown (left), author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (center), novelist Jonathan Lethem (right).  Also pictured Tony Marx, president of The New York Public Library (far right)

The Lions honored at this year's Gala included philanthropic leader Darren Walker (far left), journalist Tina Brown (left), author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (center), novelist Jonathan Lethem (right).  Also pictured Tony Marx, president of The New York Public Library (far right)

The Lions honored at this year’s Gala included philanthropic leader Darren Walker (far left), journalist Tina Brown (left), author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (center), novelist Jonathan Lethem (right). Also pictured Tony Marx, president of The New York Public Library (far right)

After 18+ months of dressing from the waist down and very little on the social calendar, New York City dignitaries were more than happy to respect the black-tie dress code.

Vogue’s Elise Taylor and founder of The Untitled Space art gallery, Indira Cesarine, stunned in floor-length ball gowns.

Magrino Public Relations founder/CEO Susan Magrino caught the eye as she walked through the famous library halls in a black and white high-low dress, accented with a soft bow tie.

For the very special event, the breathtaking Beaux-Arts space was transformed into an elegant botanical oasis

For the very special event, the breathtaking Beaux-Arts space was transformed into an elegant botanical oasis

For the very special event, the breathtaking Beaux-Arts space was transformed into an elegant botanical oasis

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised the library for adapting its approach during the pandemic and thanked his wife, Iris, who serves as the library's chief operating officer

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised the library for adapting its approach during the pandemic and thanked his wife, Iris, who serves as the library's chief operating officer

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised the library for adapting its approach during the pandemic and thanked his wife, Iris, who serves as the library’s chief operating officer

Prior to dinner, there was a delicious cocktail hour on the first floor of the library, complete with passed hors d’oeuvres and a live string quartet.

Guests were then led up three flights of stairs to one of New York’s most iconic locations: The Rose Main Reading Room.

For the very special event, the breathtaking Beaux-Arts space was transformed into an elegant botanical oasis.

The table settings encompass a sea of ​​lavish bouquets, candles and fruits, decorated to perfection and arranged like a vision, beneath the room’s 52-foot ceilings with murals of vibrant skies and billowing clouds.

Projected images of wild greenery bounced off the high walls of the book-lined room.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul spoke of the library’s enduring quality, stating that “this library will last another 125 years.”

The table settings, including a sea of ​​lavish bouquets, candles and fruits, decorated to perfection and arranged like a vision, beneath the room's 52-foot ceilings with murals of vibrant skies and billowing clouds

The table settings, including a sea of ​​lavish bouquets, candles and fruits, decorated to perfection and arranged like a vision, beneath the room's 52-foot ceilings with murals of vibrant skies and billowing clouds

The table settings, including a sea of ​​lavish bouquets, candles and fruits, decorated to perfection and arranged like a vision, beneath the room’s 52-foot ceilings with murals of vibrant skies and billowing clouds

Lions honored at this year’s Gala included author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, journalist Tina Brown, novelist Jonathan Lethem and philanthropic leader Darren Walker.

After the event was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tony Marx, president of The New York Public Library, kicked off the evening by saying, “It’s so wonderful to be back together.”

Next, Marx introduced Chuck Schumer, who made personal comments about his own experience growing up in Brooklyn and buying books at the Kings Highway branch.

Schumer praised the library for adapting its approach during the pandemic (providing digital services) and thanked his wife, Iris, who serves as the library’s chief operating officer.

As Magrino Public Relations founder/CEO Susan Magrino turned heads in the famous library halls in a black and white dress with a high low hem, accented with a soft bow tie

As Magrino Public Relations founder/CEO Susan Magrino turned heads in the famous library halls in a black and white dress with a high low hem, accented with a soft bow tie

As Magrino Public Relations founder/CEO Susan Magrino turned heads in the famous library halls in a black and white dress with a high low hem, accented with a soft bow tie

Ted Himler and Elise Taylor looked radiant

Ted Himler and Elise Taylor looked radiant

Oliver Smiles and Indira Cesarine dressed to impress

Oliver Smiles and Indira Cesarine dressed to impress

It was a fashionable crowd with Ted Himler and Elise Taylor (left), and Oliver Smiles and Indira Cesarine

Tony Yoseloff and Nanar Yoseloff looked amazing while adhering to the black tie dress code

Tony Yoseloff and Nanar Yoseloff looked amazing while adhering to the black tie dress code

Tony Yoseloff and Nanar Yoseloff looked amazing while adhering to the black tie dress code

After 18+ months of dressing from the waist down and very little on the social calendar, New York City notables including Travis Ekmark, Sloan Crosley, Andrew Sean Greer and Enrico Rotelli were happy to respect the black tie dress code

After 18+ months of dressing from the waist down and very little on the social calendar, New York City notables including Travis Ekmark, Sloan Crosley, Andrew Sean Greer and Enrico Rotelli were happy to respect the black tie dress code

After 18+ months of dressing from the waist down and very little on the social calendar, New York City notables including Travis Ekmark, Sloan Crosley, Andrew Sean Greer and Enrico Rotelli were happy to respect the black tie dress code

Tony went on to reveal that nearly 20 million people have used the digital services, in addition to nearly 10 million e-books that have been checked out.

The evening also honored former New York Public Library president Vartan Gregorian, who passed away in April 2021.

A moving video tribute highlighted Gregorian’s great work on behalf of the library. This is followed by a short film highlighting each of this year’s library lions.

The brilliant event concluded with a live band, dessert and cocktails at Astor Hall.

New York is back!

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