With this headline, you’ll have a far better clue than I had that the sculpture you’re seeing is of Fred Rogers, the beloved longtime children’s television star who hailed from Pittsburgh. The statue, at 11 feet tall and weighing some 7,000 pounds, is located on Pittsburgh’s North Shore near Heinz Field.
You may have seen something roughly like it before. That’s because the sculptor, Robert Berks, created a statue with a similar look of Albert Einstein in Washington, D.C.
While the latter statue was one of Rogers’ favorites, this one, despite the fact that the longtime Pittsburgh resident is in his characteristic TV pose of tying his sneakers, is not universally beloved. On one Website I came across, Roadside America, one observer referred to it as “lumpy,” while another, more tart, likened it to “if a mud monster mated with The Thing from the Fantastic Four.”
When I first saw the sculpture when I visited Pittsburgh a month ago, I might have had a better sense of what it was had I known the site was part of the city’s “Tribute to Children.” It takes a bit getting used to, I guess.