Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Heart of the city

Yesterday, I capped off a lovely Christmas visit catching up with dear friends in NYC with a trip to see my favorite statue — the beautifully restored Sacred Heart image behind the Church of St. Michael on West 33rd Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues. The photo above is how it looked (as best my cell phone could capture it), blessing the block.

When I first noticed the statue, which was a landmark of my daily commute when I last worked in the city, it was in deteriorating condition and had lost its right hand to vandals (twice, in fact — the second time, the hand was put into storage after having been left dangling virtually by a thread).

It was restored last year and rededicated in June — appropriately, the month of the Sacred Heart. Vandals' past persistence necessitated the addition of a fiberglass frame, but the statue shines nonetheless.

The next two photos how it looked in early May of last year, after the restoration began but before the hand and frame were added. Sans frame, it appeared in bolder relief against the backdrop of the street. Still, I know that, were it not for the protection, it would not be in such perfect shape today.

And here's the best photo I have of the statue, taken June 12, 2006, just after the restoration. The verse on the wall is Matthew 11:28: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."