Photo: NYC Parks / Malcolm Pinckney
Fame statue, originally dedicated in 1909, has been restored by Parks Monument Conservation Technicians will be officially rededicated
On Friday, NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue and Parks Director of Art & Antiquities Jonathan Kuhn joined the Public Design Commission’s Senior Manager of Art, Conservation & Design Carolina Llano, State Senator Jose Serrano, President of the 161 Street BID Trey Jenkins, Community Board 4 Parks Chair Paul Lozito, members of the Friends of Four Parks Alliance, students and staff from All Hollows High School, and members of the community to celebrate the rededication of the Heintz Memorial and the restoration and reinstallation of the Fame statue in Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx.
“We are beyond proud that after years in storage, the Fame statue is returning to the Heintz Monument thanks to our dedicated Parks Monument Conservation team,” said Commissioner Donoghue. “Honoring Louis Heintz, the first Bronx Street Commissioner, the Fame restoration was a labor of love for our team. Their dedication and hard work towards the upkeep of our City monuments remain the envy of the nation and embodies our mission here at parks which is to bring our greenspaces to life and enrich the park experience for New Yorkers.”
“It is with joy that we see Fame return to Joyce Kilmer Park after many decades,” said PDC’s Senior Manager of Art, Conservation & Design Carolina Llano. “A warm thank you to NYC Parks for their dedication to our City’s Cultural heritage.”
“My sincere thanks to NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue, Parks Director of Art & Antiquities Jonathan Kuhn, Friends of Four Parks Alliance, and all who helped make this important restoration possible,” said State Senator Serrano. “Joyce Kilmer park is a beautiful park that is enjoyed by so many local residents, and is an important part of the history of our South Bronx community. The restoration of the ‘Fame’ statue will further add to the artistic beauty and important legacy of this amazing green space.”
Originally dedicated in 1909, the Fame Statue, created by French sculptor Pierre Feitu, was part of the Heintz Monument, made in honor of Louis J. Heintz (1861-1893), an early Bronx civic leader and the first Street Commissioner for the district of the Bronx who advocated for the creation of the Grand Concourse and the future “progress and prosperity” of the Bronx. Removed in 1980 due to vandalism, the Fame statue was later further vandalized while in storage, with the head, arms, and legs removed.
After years in storage, restoration work on the Fame statue began in 2014 after a detailed photographic survey and hands on conservation analysis was done and approved by the Public Design Commission. Parks conservators then began the painstaking process of research, sculpting replicas of missing features, casting models, reassembly, brazing, corrosion removal, and installation completed in December 2022.
The restoration of the Fame statue was made possible with a $22,000 grant from the Porzelt Foundation, and countless hours of work executed by Parks’ dedicated conservation team.
“The 161st Street BID is honored to be part of the rededication of the restored Louis Heintz Memorial. It’s important that we take care of our parks throughout the city but especially the big 4 in this area of the South Bronx. When you improve parks, you also improve quality of life in the area, something our BID is striving to fix in 2023 for our merchants and residents. Our BID looks forward to continuing to work with the NYC Parks Department to improve our district,” said Executive Director Trey Jenkins, 161st Street BID.
Joyce Hogi, Board Member of the Friends of Four Parks commented, “As a founding member of Friends of 4Parks Alliance; I am grateful that the Arts and Antiquities Division of The New York City Parks and Recreation has successfully completed the restoration of “Fame” and returned her to her rightful place on the Louis Heintz Memorial. It certainly enhances the beauty of Joyce Kilmer Park and our community. Our heartfelt gratitude to the technicians under the leadership of Jonathan Kuhn for a job well done!”