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600-Pound Sculpture Coming to Carl Schurz Park This Fall, Officials Say

By Shaye Weaver | July 15, 2016 4:01pm | Updated on July 18, 2016 9:02am

YORKVILLE — A 600-pound sculpture featuring a muscular man sitting on a large overturned vessel is headed to Carl Schurz Park this August, according to the city's Parks Department.

"The Spirit of New York City," made of terra cotta by Japanese artist Yasumitsu Morito, will stand 6 feet tall on the staircase landing between the park's Hoop Garden and the East River promenade from October through April 2017, park representatives said at Thursday's Community Board 8 parks and recreation committee meeting.

The sculpture is styled after two artworks — Gian Lorenzo Bernini's "Truth Unveiled by Time" made during the 1600s Baroque era and Constantin Brancusi's "Sleeping Muse" from the turn of the 20th century, Morito said.

The man is meant to make a connection between the two time periods, the 1600s when the Dutch farmer Sybout Claessen owned the land that is now Carl Schurz Park, and the turn of the century, when the park was named, Morito explained.

The vessel is supposed to symbolize the melting pot of cultures that the city is.

Spirit of New York

"It harmonizes with the plaza," Morito said. "My hope is that it becomes part of the community's memory. Carl Schurz Park is my favorite park in New York City and the one I am most familiar with. I believe this project will be meaningful and will help people connect with their community."

A Parks Department spokeswoman said Morito's work was chosen because he previously showed a sculpture called "Spirit" in 2013 as part of the Model to Monument program. The program is a partnership between the Art Students League and the Parks Department that trains artists to produce work for public spaces and installs the work in places like Riverside Park South and Van Cortlandt Park.

Morito currently teaches ceramics at the Art Students League.

If the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy approves "The Spirit of New York City," it will remain on display temporarily from October through April 2017.

Patrick McCluskey, the director of operations at the conservancy, declined to comment on the sculpture Friday.