Friday, 18 June 2010 00:00
Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano was joined by Northwest Civic Association President Joel Berse, members of the Hicksville Historical Society and local community members to announce plans to restore the historic 100-year-old stone eagle that sits at the Hicksville Long Island Rail Road station’s north entrance.
Under Mangano’s direction and using funds from the County’s hotel/motel tax, Nassau will contribute $2,500 towards the restoration project.
“I am proud that Nassau County will help save our Hicksville eagle from extinction,” said Mangano. “This eagle is truly a part of New York and Hicksville history, and I’m glad that we are able to preserve this wonderful piece of artwork so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come.”
“It is wonderful that the Northwest Civic Association and the Hicksville Historical Society worked together with the county to restore this eagle,” said Legislator Rose Walker (R-Hicksville). “As a resident of Hicksville, I am especially pleased that this piece of our history will be preserved.”
“I am pleased that, after I approached County Executive Mangano about these plans, Nassau County is providing the remaining funds to complete this great project,” said Northwest Civic Association President Joel Berse.
After greeting commuters for 45 years, the eagle has been badly damaged by the elements. The beak has deteriorated heavily over the years and a previous attempt at a repair was unsuccessful. The Northwest Civic Association and the Hicksville Historical Society coordinated a major fundraising effort to cover the eagle’s restoration costs. The Long Island Sunrise Trail Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society pledged the first $1,000, and an additional $2,500 came in donations from the local community. Sculptor Steve Tatti has been commissioned to do the restoration work due to his experience in restoring similar statues for New Jersey Transit.
Designed in 1910 by sculptor Adolph A. Weinman, the eagle was one of 22 eagles that graced the original Pennsylvania Station in New York City before the station was demolished to build the current Madison Square Garden. Each weighed 5,700 pounds and only 18 of the 22 that were produced are known to have survived.
The Hicksville eagle arrived at the train station on May 15, 1965, thanks to Hicksville High School Latin teacher Samuel A. Goldberg, who requested one for the town when the eagles became available. The Hicksville High School Latin Club wrote the inscription that rests below the eagle, which reads, “A Roman eagle once urban is now in Hicksville quite suburban.”
Two surviving eagles currently sit on the Seventh Avenue side of Penn Station, and another one calls the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in downtown Manhattan home.