Several weeks ago, on a bright, mid-spring afternoon, I took this photo of the monument to William Tecumseh Sherman standing at Grand Army Plaza, on the southeast periphery of Central Park. Little did I know that this would probably be one of the last times that I—or, indeed, anyone in the vicinity—would see the 24-ft. high equestrian statue for awhile. According to David Dunlap’s article in The New York Times yesterday, officials of the Central Park Conservancy need to make changes in it very soon because of hairline cracks—less than a year after it had been regilded at a cost of $500,000.
I didn’t notice the so-called “crazing,” or cracking, when I was taking this picture. Mostly, I was just trying to find a good vantage point from which to shoot, since so many people were milling around the statue. Part of the reason why there was such a crowd was because it was such a nice day. But I’m convinced another, equally plausible reason is that sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens created a masterpiece.
That latter fact is why the Central Park Conservancy is going to such lengths to preserve the statue—and why, undoubtedly, so many like me will be there when work is done for good on it this time.