With less than a week left until the 150th Anniversary of the U.S.S. Monitor’s sinking, a monument erected in celebration of the ship fell prey to tasteless vandalism in Greenpoint yesterday.
What could on first glance be attributed to the exploit of a rabid pigeon-flock is actually, on closer observation, an unhindered dumping of white paint on the head, neck and shoulders of “The Monitor and The Merrimac,” which portrays a naked male tugging on the rope tied around a capstan.
At the base of the statue located near the central pavilion in McGolrick Park the initials “J.J.” and “G” blaze sloppily in the same white paint—leaving us to conclude that either these pigeons are deft with their artwork, or that these vandal(s) have a proclivity for sass. The Friends of McGolrick/Winthrop Park Facebook page has of photos the defiling.
According to the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning website, the monument was “constructed by Antonio de Filippo in 1938 and honors Swedish-American engineer and inventor John Ericsson and his design of the U.S.S. Monitor. Constructed in Bushwick Inlet, the Monitor was the first ironclad ship of the Civil War whose memory invokes a nostalgic fondness amongst Greenpoint residents. The vessel sank on December 31st, 1862 off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and 16 crewmen were lost.
The New York Post quoted community activist Phil DePaolo saying, “The neighborhood has a big historic connection to the Monitor because it was built in Greenpoint and stationed in Greenpoint” and calling the act “a big slap in the face.”
Although the actual face of the statue remained unscathed in the paint shower, and can continue to penetrate park-goers with a determined gaze, Lincoln Restler has informed the community (via Facebook status) of the Parks Department confirmation that clean up will be happening right away.
Photos posted by Facebook users are following the rapid progress in cleaning, but the police investigation of the crime scene may take a little more time.