Christopher Park


Friday, June 15, 2018
No. 57

Come see Parks’ conservation team treat and preserve monuments across the city

As the 21st season of NYC Parks’ Citywide Monuments Conservation Program (CMCP) commences, many outdoor art and monuments throughout the five boroughs will undergo preservation in the coming summer months. From the iconic Washington Square Arch in Manhattan, to Charles Searle’s Freedom’s Gate in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, Parks’ conservation team will make the rounds to clean, recoat and treat several major monuments around the city.

Already, CMCP was on site at Union Square on June 11th and 12th to clean and recoat five historic monuments including the Independence Flagstaff sculptural frieze designed by Anthony de Francisci, and New York’s oldest public sculpture, George Washington by Henry Kirke Brown. In the second half of the week, the team also tackled Freedom of the Human Spirit (from the New York World’s Fair of 1964-65) in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and the historic Neptune Fountain at Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island.

In partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program, CMCP managed conservations of two significant Percent for Art Projects maintained by Parks. Jorge Luis Rodriguez's Growth in East Harlem’s Artpark (the first Percent for Art project realized), and Howard McCalebb’s Little Dances at the Louis Armstrong Recreation Center in Corona, Queens were stripped and received fresh coats of paint in their respective “Safety Red” and “Signal Green” colors.

Here’s where else you’ll find the CMCP team this summer:

Monday, June 18 – Friday, June 22, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Freedom’s Gate, Fulton Street Traffic Triangle at Ralph Avenue, Brooklyn
George Searles’ Freedom’s Gate will have its coating renewed once localized damage to the patina is treated.

Friday, June 22, 2018
9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Gay Liberation, Christopher Park, Manhattan
In advance of NYC Pride, CMCP will clean and recoat the white lacquer finish on this important monument that commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots at the nearby Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the Gay Pride movement. In 2016 Christopher Park and Gay Liberation were federalized as part of the Stonewall National Monument, becoming the first U.S. National Monument dedicated to LGBT history.

Tuesday, July 17 – Friday, July 20, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Washington Square Arch, Washington Square Park, Manhattan
Working on an 80-foot lift the CMCP will examine and test for structural stability all of the fragile marble masonry, decorative ornament and sculptural stonework on the Arch. The entire monument, including the lower two sculptures of Washington (as Commander in Chief and Statesman) will be gently cleaned of biological growth and pollutants, and spot mortar repairs made as needed.

Monday, July 23 – Friday, July 27, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Invisible Man, Riverside Park, Manhattan
With support from the Riverside Park Conservancy, the 18-foot-high bronze sculpture dedicated to pioneering author Ralph Ellison by Elizabeth Catlett in Riverside Park will be stripped of its current wax coating and a new hot wax coating and cold wax coating will be renewed.

For updates on exact locations on each of these days, and to coordinate a site visit, reach out to Monuments Conservation Manager John Saunders at (917) 681-5061.

A public-private partnership, CMCP is a conservation program dedicated to preserving the NYC Parks’ rich sculptural legacy and cultural heritage while providing college and graduate-level apprentices with professional hands on training.

Directions to Christopher Park


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