The lions are back in front of City Hall.
Twin cast iron felines were hoisted onto their granite pillars Wednesday afternoon and then bolted down.
It was an unceremonious homecoming for the statues, which guarded the front of the 1871 building when it housed local government, the YMCA, the post office and movie theater.
Sometime in the 1930s, the city removed the squarish steps and replaced them with a rounded design to update the building’s image, and also modified the front doors and windows. The lions, no longer needed, were shipped off to the East Side and West Side recreation fields, where at least a generation of children played on them.
This year the cats were refinished with a bronze look.
On Wednesday after they were installed, a light snow fell and Anthony “Skip” Scirocco, commissioner of public works, joked about keeping an eye on the steps, which are equipped with radiant heat under the granite veneer to melt snow and ice.
“We were hoping we would get a little bit of snow,” he said.
Scirocco said the steps will be opened today so that people can walk on them, at least six months after the Department of Public Works closed off the crumbling concrete stairs in preparation for the work.
Sometime next month, Scirocco plans to hold a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony at the steps.
Scirocco said the city stuck to a $210,000 budget for the stairs, using in-house labor to demolish the old steps and to create a vestibule inside the front door.
The vestibule features a window that DPW found upstairs in storage in City Hall.
“Our own people did that whole project inside,” Scirocco said. “So there was some savings there.”
The project was plagued with delays almost from its April start, from the quarry not having the granite ready over the summer to the contractor building a footing a half-inch too narrow and then having to jackhammer it out and start over.