REVELERS AT JOAN OF ARC PARTY TOAST THE PAST, LOOK TO THE FUTURE

By Gus Saltonstall

The Riverside Park Conservancy along with the Joan of Arc Statue Committee hosted their summer kickoff celebration, “La Fete De Jeanne D’Arc”, at the Joan of Arc statue at 93rd Street and Riverside Drive on Tuesday night.

It was a celebratory environment, with Upper West Siders enjoying music by New York’s own Via Paris Jazz Band and refreshments provided by Laudree Paris Bakery.

The Joan of Arc statue is both New York City’s first public statue of a woman and the city’s first statue sculpted by a woman, the eminent artist and art patron Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington.

The statue was unveiled to the public in 1915 by none other than Thomas Edison, and the base of the statue actually includes pieces of granite that were brought from Rouen, France, where Joan of Arc was held captive.

As history buffs know, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431 for her valor in fighting to help liberate France from English rule. Two decades later her sentence was annulled and then in 1920—nearly 500 years after her death—she was canonized as Saint Joan by Pope Benedict XV.

“The statue is not just for this little community, but for the whole of New York City to appreciate,” said Randy Hugill, the chair of the Joan of Arc Statue Committee, and an Upper West Sider who has been volunteering in Riverside Park for the past 20 years.

The purpose of the event was not only to help Upper West sider’s mark the beginning of summer, but also to raise funds to restore the 102-year-old Statue. The goal is to raise $600,000 by 2019, which would be enough to begin the first phase of restoration.

“The Joan of Arc Park is a sanctuary for the neighborhood, and it’s important to give respect to the first statue of a woman in New York City,” said one longtime resident of 93rd and Riverside.

If you would like to donate to the restoration effort please click the following link, https://riversideparknyc.org/groups/joan/.

Photos by Gus Saltonstall.

NEWS | 5 comments | permalink
    1. EricaC says:

      My mother has always thought of Joan of Arc as her patron saint, and she was so happy to live near that park. She would have loved to attend (she is too disabled now). I hope everyone enjoyed it!

    2. Tim says:

      $600,000 for the FIRST phase?! You could gild it with 5 lbs of gold for about $150,000, including labor! Is it too late for bid submissions for the restoration contract? Lol

      • Aaron Biller says:

        The $600,000 figure refers to restoring such items as the stairs (which are crumbling), the stone setting in the statue plaza (it’s falling apart), the presently potholed pathways around the statues plaza and between 93-94th Streets, new fencing, erosion control, etc. This first phase is to restore these enumerated items. We would also like to establish a dedicated fund for the upkeep of the statue.

        Restorations to the historic Olmstead part of Riverside Park require adherence to certain architectural guidelines. This makes things more expensive, along with the 70-step City bidding process.

        Mr. Tim, if you want to bid when the RFP comes out, certainly you will have your opportunity. Please include your qualifications in gilding. The City needs a good laugh!

    3. DemocracyDiesInDarkness says:

      Vive la resistance!

    4. ScooterStan says:

      Re: “Revelers at Joan of Arc Party TOAST the Past”

      Ummmm…..isn’t it kind of un-PC to place the word “Toast” in the same sentence as “Joan of Arc”??

      Just wonderin’
      😱