NEW YORK – The irreplaceable artifact arrived by armored car and carefully handled first by an attorney with two security guards at his side and then by a man clad in spotless white gloves.
The first signed edition of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (search) arrived Friday in New York City.
"We put the white gloves on only for the most special books," explained Paul LeClerc, president of The New York Public Library (search), after accepting the autographed book.
It was author J.K. Rowling's "special wish" to give the book to the New York library and the city to honor its tenacity since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, said Richard Robinson, chairman, president and CEO of Scholastic, Inc., Rowling's U.S. publisher.
"To the people of New York with love and admiration," read the book's inscription.
The book about the boy wizard was placed inside a display case in the library lobby, where it will stay for two days before becoming a part of the children's collection at the Donnell Library Center (search) on West 53rd Street.
New York is buying 1,200 copies for its 85 branch libraries.
A crowd outside the library cheered wildly as the armored car pulled up on Fifth Avenue at 11 a.m. Two burly guards accompanied attorney Mark Seidenfeld as he removed a double-sealed plastic briefcase from the back of the vehicle, then walked it up the steps of the library on Fifth Avenue.
"Harry! Harry!" chanted scores of fans assembled on the steps, despite gray skies and the threat of rain. In their midst stood a man clad in a purple wizard's outfit, leading the cheers.