. . above: Liberty/Gateway Plaza on May 15, 2019; Lady Liberty still in exile
This evening (May 16, 2019, at 6 PM), landscape architect Mary Moore Wallinger, chair of Schenectady’s Planning Commission and primary author of the Final Report of the City of Schenectady Gateway Plaza Implementation Plan, is leading a Public Tour of Gateway Plaza. We are invited to “Come And Learn How The Design Evolved From Concept To Reality!” Naturally, I am quite curious to learn how the Implementation Plan has “evolved” since its approval by the Schenectady City Council in 2013. That approved Plan had Lady Liberty returning after construction; with a central focal point sculpture of a Wind Turbine; and attractive period lamp-posts on the new pedestrian way. The current, “final” form of the new Plaza is rather different.
Please stop by the former site of Lady Liberty this evening (Thursday, May 16, 2019), just before 6 PM, to join a friendly “rally for Lady Liberty“, similar to one we had last September. [see photo at right] The Plaza has also, somehow, been renamed without the public having a chance to comment on losing the name Liberty Park. [see our posting “The name is Liberty Park”]
In addition, the Plaza is about to have a new installation celebrating the LGBT movement, sponsored by Schenectady PRIDE, and located approximately where the Original Implementation Plan called for Lady Liberty’s re-location. See “Schenectady’s Gateway design celebrates diversity but missing Lady Liberty” (by Paul Nelson, May 15, 2019); and “Gateway Plaza installation in Schenectady taking shape: Construction likely to begin this week” (Daily Gazette, by Pete DeMola, May 16, 2019). The PRIDE cause deserves a place at the New Plaza; however, as the editor of this site said last November: “In my opinion, Schenectady PRIDE and the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising deserve a much better design,” and, a process more in tune with good government.
- BTW: A few moments after City Council voted to support having the PRIDE memorial at Gateway Plaza for one year, Ms. Wallinger quietly said, while standing at the podium, that she wants it to be permanent. The Pride Memorial was installed in 2019, at the direction of Ms. Wallinger, as a sturdy, permanent structure, and it is still standing as we enter 2023.
As for Lady Liberty, today’s Gazette article explains:
The new installation comes as some residents are pining for the return of another piece of public art, a Statue of Liberty replica statue erected in 1950, but removed in 2017 as part of park improvements.
Since then, residents have jockeyed over where “Lady Liberty” should be relocated once retrieved from storage.
“Ultimately, the decision is not mine,” Wallinger said. “It’s up to the mayor to decide where it will go.
“It needs some work. It needs money and it needs some restoration.”
Mayor Gary McCarthy didn’t return a request for comment.
- for a full explanation of this discouraging civics lesson in Schenectady, see our posting “Lady Liberty is Timeless“.
- Also, see “News 10 special valentine to Lady Liberty” (Feb. 18, 2019), and the news report “Local Treasure Locked Away“.
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