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Goodbye to All That: Brooklyn’s Statue of Liberty Leaves for St. Louis

Little Liberty was too good for the Brooklyn Museum's parking lot (and more links).

The Statue of Liberty replica being moved by crane in the Brooklyn Museum parking lot.

You never know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. (Courtesy of Streetsblog)

Not every monument to liberty, inclusion, and the pursuit of happiness can have a perch in New York Harbor. And so for the last 17 years, a 30-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty has watched over the parking lot behind the Brooklyn Museum, reminding visitors that they are free to drive wherever they please (but the museum does not validate parking, sorry).

Until Monday, when a crane and a crew from Missouri carted her away.

According to the Brooklyn Museum, the replica's destination is the National Building Arts Center (NBAC) in St. Louis. The move had been in the works for some time, but had been delayed by the pandemic.

"We're so pleased that the statue, which has been situated behind our Museum's building since 2006, will receive the care it needs for repair and restoration by the experts at the NBAC, who specialize in architectural fragments and building artifacts," a spokesperson for the museum told Hell Gate in an email.

"This is an exciting stage of a process that has been years in the making," the spokesperson wrote, sounding a bit like someone who has finally gotten rid of a hideous piece of furniture.

A parking lot was somewhat of a demotion for the five-ton replica, which used to sit atop Liberty Storage & Warehouse on West 64th Street. According to the Brooklyn Museum, the statue was commissioned in 1902 by the business owner, William Flattau, and was made by W.H. Mullins of Salem, Ohio, which cranked out thousands of similar zinc-over-steel statues and monuments around the turn of the century. In a 1939 account in the New Yorker, the warehouse's manager, "a white-haired gentleman named William Wood," shared that the replica was made using measurements from the famous statue that's sitting on Liberty Island.

There is a familiar tinge of condescension in the New Yorker's Talk of the Town piece, headlined "Little Miss Liberty": "Mr. Wood remarked wanly that, though the statue was put up to attract attention, we were the first journalist to ever make inquiries." 

But people did notice the replica—a 1993 New York Times story on "Little Liberty" noted that tourists sometimes mistook it for its progenitor. 

In the early 2000s, the warehouse was converted into apartments, and the replica was moved to the Brooklyn Museum's parking lot. ("The installation of 'Lady Liberty' is dedicated to heroic firefighters, policemen, and emergency workers of September 11th," reads a caption on a 2011 video from the New York Historical Society.)

The good people at the NBAC in St. Louis seem very stoked to have Little Liberty. They even made a welcome video to go along with a crowdfunding campaign to raise the $25,000 they need to make her really shine. (The museum has currently raised just a little over $4,000.) Goodbye to Little Liberty, it's totally fine to leave New York.

Here are some genuine replicas of news stories you should read:

  • Savvy bullet points say that Joe Biden once considered replacing Kamala Harris with Eric Adams but then Adams starting complaining about the lack of federal support for asylum seekers and now he's on Dark Brandon's shit list.
  • Some of those migrants are now being housed in public school gyms and other mass congregate settings. And some parents and their kids aren't happy about that.

And finally, speaking of reverence for important replicas:

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