Few structures in New York City can claim to be emblematic of luxuriant excellence—a symbol of the grandiose levels of perfection envisioned by Gilded-Age magnates—the way that the Morgan Library and Museum can.
Originally the private library of well-known financier Pierpont Morgan, the Morgan Library and Museum was built between 1902 and 1906 and was designed in the style of an Italian Renaissance-style palazzo, with three majestic rooms epitomizing America's Age of Elegance. Today it is home to rare prints of literary works, priceless works of art and other cultural treasures of international importance.
And that is to say nothing of the décor.
As the museum has striven to maintain the domestic quality of the lavishly decorated first floor, it has retained the original furnishings from the Piermont Morgan days, refurbishing the material when necessary. Which begs the question: How does one clean and service irreplaceable century-old upholstery and window treatments?
“Very carefully,” joked Andrew Rivkin. Rivkin is the owner of Embassy Cleaners, a Larchmont, NY-based full-service cleaner, which recently completed the job of restoring to new various pieces from the Morgan, from the 18-foot draperies to the antique silk fabric-upholstered walls throughout Morgan’s impressive study. “The drapes had to be done on-site and by hand,” explained Rivkin, “and great vigilance had to be given to protect the priceless antique stained-glass windows that were covered by the drapes.”
As for the silk-upholstered walls, only four-inch wide sections could be cleaned at a time, and the painstaking process required a staggering 100 man-hours of dedicated craftsmanship to complete.
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The process, while exacting, proved all the more rewarding for Rivkin and Embassy Cleaners. “We of course are extremely honored to be selected by the Morgan to restore these phenomenal pieces. It’s a testament to the expertise of our technicians.”
This is not the first monumental cleaning job for Embassy. Established in Larchmont in 1937, Embassy is well-experienced in its field, providing expert cleaning services for clients such as the Bank of New York, Trump International Hotel and Tower, the Beach Point Club of Mamaroneck, several Tourneau retail stores, Picholine Restaurant, and fire restoration work on behalf of the Firemen’s Fund Insurance Co., not to mention over 6,000 residential clients.
And yet a crucible like the Morgan is in an entirely different category of precision work. “We’ve established ourselves here in the Westchester County area, but it’s important for us to keep striving for the top, and where better to look than in New York City,” continued Rivkin. “We don’t see many jobs like the Morgan. To be able to satisfy them, we know we can satisfy anyone.”