Volume 19 • Issue 21 | October 6 - 12, 2006

“The Promise,” a 30-foot by 10-foot sculpture by William Tucker is planned for St. John’s Rotary at Varick and Laight Sts.

Art group promises railroad sculpture for St. John’s

By Lori Haught

A new sculpture hearkening back to the days when St. John’s Rotary was a train rotary will soon grace the park at Varick and Laight Sts.

Community Board 1’s Arts and Entertainment Task Force voted in support of the piece after the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council made a presentation on the sculpture.

After a rocky presentation eight months ago, during which committee members said “a monstrosity” sculpture was “forced upon” them, board members loved the new sculpture, “The Promise” (1982), by William Tucker.

At 30 feet long, 10 feet high and four feet wide, the steel and stucco sculpture is similar in design to a railroad truss, Tom Healy, president of the L.M.C.C., said. It evokes a sense of history because originally the rotary was where trains made their last stop and turned around. Now the rotary is near an exit to the Holland Tunnel.

The owner, and long time art collector, Martin Margulies, currently lives in Florida but also owns a home in Tribeca. Healy said that Margulies is thrilled to contribute to the community. Margulies has an extensive collection of sculpture, photography, and installation art displayed at the Florida International University and his own museum in a converted warehouse, The Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE.

Healy said that Margulies had a recent falling out with F.I.U. and might have more sculptures to donate to the city soon, as he was planning to take them back from the university. He also said St. John’s could be turned into a sculpture park with more pieces from the collection.

Currently, there is no lighting or positioning plan for the sculpture. Healy said that could be better determined once the piece arrives. He expects that will be soon, but he does not have a precise date.


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