Monday, January 31, 2011

Eyesore Next Door: Nearly Century-Old Nude Statue in Kew Gardens Crumbling from Lack of Care by Lisa L. Colangelo - NY Daily News

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A neglected nude statue by Frederick MacMonnies stands unkempt in Kew Gardens in Queens
The decaying marble statue that sits at Union Turnpike and Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens was crafted almost 100 years ago with the loftiest of intentions.
A strapping young man, molded in the classical form, is the personification of Civic Virtue, triumphant over the twin sirens of Vice and Corruption.
These days, however the monument is looking less than virtuous.
"It's deteriorating," said Mary Ann Carey, district manager of Community Board 9, which includes Kew Gardens. "We were told if it's left to its own devices, it will eventually crumble into dust."

From the start, the monument - by renowned sculptor Frederick MacMonnies - sparked controversy. When it was unveiled at City Hall in 1922, women were furious that a naked man was shown stepping on the female sirens.Mayor Fiorello La Guardia banished the statue to Queens but the borough's authorities were never happy with it, either.
The statue is owned by the city, so it falls under the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which manages city-owned buildings and property. But Parks Department officials said they have been charged with caring for it over the years.
Parks officials said a proper cleaning and repair would cost "tens of thousand of dollars."