GOVERNORS ISLAND — A 220-year-old eagle needs your help to mend its wings.
The large sandstone eagle sculpture that sits atop Governors Island historic Fort Jay, one of the oldest military structures in the country, is vying for grant money to help restore the crumbling bird to its former majestic glory — money it can only get with the public's vote.
The eagle is one of 20 historic national sites — a list that includes the Grand Canyon National Park and the Alcatraz Guardhouse — selected for a friendly online competition, in a bid to get a piece of a $2 million dollar grant. It's the only New York landmark running for the funds.
Partners in Preservation, a program aimed at bringing national attention to historic landmarks, is sponsoring the grant. Participants can vote once a day for their favorite landmark through July 5 at VoteYourPark.org/gois. Several of the landmarks with the top votes will split the money.
The eagle, made from red sandstone in 1796, sits perched with a shield, flags and a cannon atop the historic fort. The sculpture is the first domestically carved military sculpture in the country, according to the National Parks Service.
“The timing of the Partners in Preservation campaign comes at a critical tipping point for Governors Island’s beloved Fort Jay eagle sculpture,” said Merritt Birnbaum, executive director of The Friends of Governors Island in a statement. “This funding will not only help the National Park Service preserve a historically significant and artistically relevant piece of the Island’s history, but will help prevent further damage to the structure."