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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 18, 2005
No. 112
www.nyc.gov/parks

ALAMO RETURNS TO ASTOR PLACE

Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, designer Bernard "Tony" Rosenthal, and members of the Cooper Street Union and East Village community today unveiled the fully restored Alamo at Astor Place. The renovation project was funded by the Department of Transportation at a cost of $37,000.

"The spinning Alamo cube sculpture has been called a reflection of the ever-changing nature of New York City and the dynamic Astor Place neighborhood," said Commissioner Weinshall. "We’re proud to have worked with the Parks Department, and the cube’s creator Tony Rosenthal, to renovate and return this important public artwork to the East Village."

"The Alamo was originally installed as a temporary work of art in 1967, but almost 40 years later it remains an iconic landmark where Greenwich Village meets the East Village," said Commissioner Benepe. "We are grateful to DOT for fully funding the restoration and reinstallation that was guided by its creator, Tony Rosenthal, so that it may spin--and turn heads-- for years to come."

Versteeg Fabricators, Inc. was contracted to oversee the restoration, which included beam replacement and additional reinforcement to the statue’s base, and a cleaning and painting to both the base and cube. Drainage slots and weep holes were cut on the cube’s interior, the pole was lubricated with lithium grease, and both the interior and exterior were cleaned and painted black.

The Alamo, then entitled Sculpture in Environment, was created by Tony Rosenthal to be placed in the small traffic triangle to the south of the Astor Place subway entrance the Department of Cultural Affairs. The geometric piece, fabricated by the Lippincott Foundry of Connecticut, consists of a sectional 15’-high Cor-ten steel cube, painted black, and poised on one corner.

Through an initiative of the students of Cooper Union, the community petitioned to have this icon cube remain at Astor Place even after the art exhibit concluded, making it the first piece of abstract sculpture to become part of the permanent collection of public art in New York City. It was then named Alamo, by suggestion of the artist’s wife, who found the sculpture’s imposing size and "impenetrable strength" symbolic of the Alamo sanctuary of San Antonio, where thousands of Mexican soldiers attacked about 180 Texans in 1836.

The Alamo was removed earlier this year for a partial restoration, but was determined to be in need of a full restoration once that project began.

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