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Sag Harbor's 16-foot legs to stand trial

Ruth Vered wants Sag Harbor to legalize the

Ruth Vered wants Sag Harbor to legalize the controversial Legs statue, a 16-foot-tall casting of a pair of women's legs by local artist Larry Rivers. (Feb. 21, 2012) Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

A shapely, 16-foot sculpture of a pair of a woman’s legs will continue to walk outside Ruth Vered and Janet Lehr’s house in Sag Harbor, at least until a judge rules it has to come down.

The legs, a fiberglass casting of the original artwork by the late Larry Rivers, have been attached to the house on Madison Street since 2008. But after receiving complaints, the village issued a summons to gallery owner Vered in January, saying she had no building permit to display the legs. Vered argued that she needed no permit to display the casting because it is a work of art.

The matter was discussed during several town board meetings and public hearings with residents divided over whether the legs should go.

Vered collected 700 signatures on a petition asking that the legs remain on her house.

Finally, Vered and Lehr filed for a variance to allow the sculpture to stand — it is a bit too tall and several feet too close to the street to meet the village zoning code. That was denied in mid-April.

After the denial, the women were issued a summons and ordered to take down the legs by mid-September. Vered said this week that she had not heard of the village’s decision to extend that deadline.

Now, with the case in State Supreme Court, the village has decided to take no action until the issue is resolved at trial. No trial date has yet been set, but village officials said it would likely take place before the end of the year.


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