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City Looking to Hire New Blacksmith

By Ben Fractenberg | September 17, 2014 7:38am
 Larry Hagberg retired as the blacksmith for the Parks Department in July after working for the city for three decades. 
Larry Hagberg retired as the blacksmith for the Parks Department in July after working for the city for three decades. 
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Google+/Larry Hagberg

MANHATTAN — The city is looking for someone who can prove their mettle. 

After three decades working as a blacksmith for the Parks Department, Larry Hagberg hung up his hammer in July, prompting the agency to post a notice on NYC.gov calling for applicants to replace him.

The job description calls for someone who can “forge and shape angle irons, bridle irons, tools and automobile parts,” according to the post.

The position, which pays $100,725.12 annually, also calls for someone who will “repair existing metal structures and fencing, play equipment, vehicles, metal parts of carts, enclosures, sweepers and other equipment as needed.”

Before any amateur metal workers think about applying, the Parks Department is looking for someone with five years full-time experience as a blacksmith.

 Larry Hagberg created this iron wreath in 2011. 
Larry Hagberg created this iron wreath in 2011. 
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Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

The job may also entail supervising a blacksmith’s helper.

Hagberg began working as the city's blacksmith in 1984, according to his website, and operated out of one of the few remaining forges in Manhattan at the 86th Street Shops in Central Park.

"[Larry] was a skilled blacksmith and used his unique skills to create ornamental fencing, make repairs, locks and special hinges for historic buildings, latches, basketball hoops, and special sledge hammers," a Parks Department spokeswoman told DNAinfo New York in an email.

"His metal wreaths also became a fixture at the Arsenal Gallery's annual wreath exhibit."

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Hagberg talked about his work in a 2010 interview. 

“You can take a piece of steel that doesn’t want to be moved, you can heat it up in the forge, put it on the anvil under the hammer, it’s gonna move the way you want,” Hagberg told PBS. “It’s gonna do what you want. You can form immovable objects. That’s why I like it, I guess.”

He went on to tell the broadcaster about how integral blacksmithing is for other crafts.

“If it wasn’t for the blacksmith, the other trades would really not exist, because a blacksmith is the one who makes the tools," he said.

Hagberg started working on a horse ranch as a young adult where he became friends with the blacksmith who put shoes on the horses and became interested in the trade.

He worked with carriage horses in the city before starting with the Parks Department.