‘Horse Tamer’ statue bound for Gerry Park

Bill San Antonio

With the $100,000 restoration work on the Town of North Hempstead-owned Mackay estate ‘Horse Tamer’ statue is complete, preservationists may be close to finding a new home within the Village of Roslyn’s Gerry Park.

The Roslyn Landmark Society, working in tandem with the town on the restoration effort, has selected three locations within the park to place the statue: at a high position near Middle Pond between Roslyn Road and the pond, at a lower position near the pond or at the Upper Pond near Firemen’s Monument.

“We couldn’t think of any other place where you could look at the statue from a distance than Gerry Park,” said Jay Corn, a trustee on the landmark society. “There are many places that would have loved to have had it, but there’s one thing just driving by and seeing it but there’s another to put a chair down or an easel down to sketch it and really take it in. No other place seemed as appropriate for it as the park.”

Corn, who is working on a committee appointed that is overseeing the project, said the landmark society hopes to have the project fully completed before the summer.

Following a March 15 presentation, the landmark society chose the locations near Middle Pond because it is almost directly west of the statue’s original location and would enhance the view of the library and church in the background.

If the landmark society chooses to put the statue at the Upper Pond location, it would need to move the Firemen’s Monument and find a new location for it, a project that, according to the presentation document, would cost roughly $3,000.

The restored statue, made from Tennssee Pink Marble, is 10 feet high, six feet long and four feet wide, and weighs between 9,000 and 10,000 pounds.

Corn said the landmark society raised the $100,000 through various fundraisers and aid from the Gerry estate.

Once a location is selected, the next step would be for Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan to review the selected location. Landmark Society director Franklin Perrell would then advise on the statue’s positioning and height.

According to the presentation, the town Commissioner of Public Works Paul DiMaria has obtained bids for the placement of the helical piles, with an estimated cost ranging between $8,600 and $9,600.

Howard Kroplick, the Town of North Hempstead’s historian and a landmark society trustee, has obtained bids to complete the foundation.

While the landmark society deliberates, the statue is being housed in pieces at North Shore Monuments in Glen Head, which did the restoration of the statue, which is a replica of the Marly Horses commissioned by Louis XIV in Paris in 1649 and now located at the Louvre.

“It is a part of Roslyn’s history and represents a part of the Mackay estate that was almost a complete footprint of what East Hills was back then, before it was East Hills,” Corn said. “To duplicate a statue like that today, based on the one in Paris, would be unrealistic and nearly impossible.” 

According to landmark society historical records, the statue was split in half and separated after Harbor Hill, where the Mackay estate stood, was demolished in 1947.

One half of the statue became property of Roslyn High School, and the other – the piece that has been restored – remained on the site, which eventually became part of a private residence in  what is now Country Estates.

North Shore Monuments is currently in possession of Roslyn High School’s piece of the statue, and a separate group, which calls itself “Friends of the Horse Tamer,” is trying to raise $100,000 to restore that pat of the statue.

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