NEW YORK — St. Patrick’s Cathedral showed off its shiny, newly restored massive bronze front doors on Wednesday following a complex, two-day re-installation.
The ornately carved double doors underwent a three-month conservation and restoration that cost around $500,000. Each 16½-foot by 5½-foot door weighs 9,200 pounds and is decorated with sculptures of saints and other important religious figures, including Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint.
The work involved removing seven layers of paint and restoring the original patina, according to Lucia Popian of G&L Popian Inc., a family-owned business in Queens. She said she, husband Gabriel, and son Ion did the work by hand.
Popian said the doors had two main areas of decay: One was man-made — the layers of paint — and the other environmental, including corrosion from pollution and water infiltration.
The doors are the second set to grace the landmark Fifth Avenue edifice. The original doors were wooden. The current doors were blessed by Cardinal Spellman and opened for the first time two days before Christmas 1949. They were designed by Charles Maginnis, and John Angel was commissioned to create the figures.
The Popian family also is restoring the cathedral’s smaller sets of bronze doors and has restored the crosses on top of each of the Fifth Avenue spires.
The Gothic Revival-style Roman Catholic cathedral is undergoing a three-year, $177 million interior and exterior restoration.