A Fresh Face for “Million-Dollar Staircase”On March 14, 2023 by Yash Pratap Singh
The Million Dollar Staircase is a historic staircase located in the New York State Capitol Building in Albany, New York, USA. The staircase is named for its elaborate and ornate carvings, which are said to have cost over a million dollars to create.
The staircase was built between 1883 and 1894 as part of the renovation and expansion of the Capitol Building. It was designed by architect Isaac Perry and features a grand staircase with two landings and 444 steps. The staircase is made of white marble and is adorned with intricate carvings of animals, people, and other decorative elements. The paintings depict important events in New York State history, such as the signing of the Constitution and the Battle of Saratoga.
The Million Dollar Staircase is considered one of the most beautiful architectural features of the New York State Capitol Building and is a popular tourist attraction. It has also been the site of many historic events, including the inaugurations of several New York governors and the funeral procession for President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945.
There were no women commemorated in the beautiful carvings that covered the 444 steps and four levels of the so-called Million Dollar Staircase in the New York State Capitol. A governmental official was forced by scrutiny to swiftly approve the installation of several ladies to the staircase’s lower level.
It was the year 1898. After 125 years, the state will finally add a woman to the list of honorees: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a trailblazing Supreme Court justice, feminist hero, and native of Brooklyn.
The same Corse hill sandstone that was used to create the original stairs will be used to create the new sculpture. It will be flown in from a Scottish quarry, cost approximately $150,000, and be ready for display sometime this spring, though it didn’t seem probable that it would be done by the end of March, Women’s History Month.
When Governor Kathy Hochul was pressed for a more specific completion date, she joked, “When the budget is done.”
Even though the carving project was started by Ms Hochul’s predecessor, Andrew M. Cuomo, she is enthusiastically embracing the chance to redesign the Capitol. She said that Justice Ginsburg’s addition, which makes her the first person of Jewish ancestry to have their name etched on the stairway, might be the first of many.
New York is not static, Ms Hochul noted, pointing out the presence of additional empty areas. “We are not stuck in the year 125.” She later continued, “I want to make sure that we’ve left our imprint because it may be here for generations.”
This is somewhat of a dress rehearsal. The figure was initially created in clay by the artist Meredith Bergmann. She placed a rubber mould over that and then filled it with plaster to create a cast. Ms Bergmann examined the object’s size, form, and lighting as two devoted assistants suspended it from the ceiling.
The final model has been authorized, so construction may start. To fit the painting in and fasten it using stainless steel dowels, a thin slab will be carved from the stone blocks that make up the staircase.
The justice wears her trademark glasses and collar in the carving, which had the approval of Justice Ginsburg’s family, and exudes regal wisdom.
The governor was thrilled to see the model firmly in place.
She said, “That is fantastic. Check that out. What a position of importance, huh?
. It is not the first time Ms Bergmann has conjured Justice Ginsburg from a block of clay; in 2010, the judge agreed to be observed for several days for a bust after Ms Bergmann wrote her a heartfelt letter.
Ms Bergmann described Justice Ginsburg as a gentlewoman absorbed in her work who contributed to establishing women’s constitutional right to equal protection, as well as voting rights, affirmative action, and same-sex marriage.
She merely laboured, according to Ms Bergmann. Working, working, working, working. She once remarked, “Where’s my bagel?” She then simply continued her work.
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