JFK is back in Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn after a seven-year hiatus and he’s looking better than ever…a bronze bust of the 35th president by sculptor Neil Estern, that is.  Experiencing the same ill-treatment that its predecessor in that section of the plaza, a towering figure of Abraham Lincoln, endured (neglect and resulting vandalism, insufficient funding and inevitable red tape), the monument has been enhanced and restored by its creator.

[Estern] has been badgering the Parks Department to revamp the monument since admirers nearly toppled the flimsy pedestal during the first unveiling ceremony in 1965. The city didn’t scrape together the funds to install a sturdier, granite plinth until 2003. But the new platform led to another problem that was nearly as dire as the Cuban Missile Crisis: the JFK bust didn’t fit properly on the new pillar.

Not one to be daunted, the 84-year-old artist produced an even larger, rounder version of JFK from his original clay model, with finer facial details and carvings, which would fit onto the pillar. Last year, NYC came up with the $70,000 needed to return the statue to its cherished spot in the plaza.

The official rededication ceremony is set for Aug. 24.

The Brooklyn Paper


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