When metal sculptures began appearing around Glen Cove in October, residents were abuzz.
“People were commenting on Facebook: ‘Where is this coming from? Who put them there? What are they? What do they mean?’ ” recalled city Parks and Recreation Director Darcy Belyea.
The 22 sculptures, the last of which was installed in early December, were gifts to the city from a longtime resident who initially wanted to remain anonymous. After Newsday asked city officials to speak with him, the man, David Weinstein, agreed to be named but not interviewed, said Coleen Spinello, a member of the city’s beautification commission who, with fellow member Lauren Wasserfall, worked with parks officials to decide where the sculptures should be placed. Weinstein had displayed the sculptures in his front and backyards, said Spinello, wife of former Mayor Reginald Spinello.
“We could never have been able to afford this,” Belyea said. “His generosity is really unbelievable.”
Many of the sculptures have abstract geometric designs. One at Mill Pond Park is similar to the iconic “LOVE” sculpture by the artist Robert Indiana, with the “O” on its side. A sculpture at the ferry terminal evokes a wave, and one under a scoreboard at John Maccarone Memorial Stadium looks like a referee signaling a touchdown.
Some are in nondescript spaces, such as next to the Pulaski Street garage and in a walkway between the garage and Glen Street.
“It gives some empty spaces personality,” Spinello said.
Wasserfall said the sculptures, along with a street-art gallery that was inaugurated in March and a mural that was painted on a retaining wall along Route 107 in 2016, enhance the city’s image.
“It’s young, it’s vibrant, it makes people want to come to Glen Cove,” she said.
Patricia Holman, executive director of the Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District, said outdoor artwork elsewhere has been a tourist draw. She said every time she visits a friend in Providence, Rhode Island, “She says, ‘Oh, you have to see the newest artwork.’ She takes me and, sure enough, there are many people taking photographs.”
Holman said that she hopes that when visitors come to Glen Cove to see the sculptures, “they then say, ‘Wow, this is a really nice restaurant, this is a really cute downtown. Let’s stay here and shop or eat or go see a movie.’ ”
Holman said she is preparing a social media campaign in which she’ll post a photo of one sculpture and invite people to find more artwork and post photos of them.
“This way people get excited about it,” she said.
Art in the city
The 22 metal sculptures that city workers installed throughout Glen Cove in the past few months are the latest artistic initiatives in Glen Cove.
- Resident David Weinstein donated the sculptures, which had been in his front and backyards.
- In 2016, artists painted a large geometric mural on a retaining wall on Route 107, a half mile from the city’s southern border.
- In early 2017, nearly 150 artists transformed a historic house into a showcase of street art and graffiti.