By Teri West, Roslyn Times
Historic society members and local officials gathered in Gerry Pond Park Tuesday afternoon to unveil a new historical marker in front of the Mackay Horse Statue and additions to the space surrounding the base of the statue.
The Roslyn Landmark Society, with the guidance of town Historian Howard Kroplick, now the group’s president, partnered with the Town of North Hempstead to organize the renovation efforts. Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton provided a $71,000 grant to help complete the project.
Melissa and Bruce Shulman (center) cut the ribbon honoring the new plaza surrounding the statue. They donated the statue to the Town of North Hempstead in 2009. (Photo by Teri West) A brick platform, year-round lighting, a fence and bushes now surround the statue.
“It’s lovely when you come in at night and it’s all lit up,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “I love to see that.”
The statue is one of a pair of twin figures that were originally placed on the Harbor Hill estate in 1920, according to the statue’s new sign detailing its history. The estate’s original owners, Clarence and Katherine Mackaw, commissioned the statues to be modeled after King Louis XV’s Marly Horse statues, which were transferred from a royal residence to the Champs-Elysées in 1749.
When the 648-acre estate went into disrepair during World War II and became a housing development after its demolition, one of the statues was moved to Roslyn High School. The other remained in its original spot, which became an East Hills home’s backyard.
Bruce and Melissa Shulman moved into that home and in 2009 decided to donate the statue to the Town of North Hempstead.
The Landmark Society then handled its restoration and moved it to the park in 2013. At Tuesday’s ceremony, the Shulmans cut the ribbon on the base of the statue to celebrate the renovations.
Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said that the statue is a meaningful part of the town’s community.
“Long after we’re gone, this statue will remain,” Bosworth said.
She and other speakers at the celebration emphasized how much of a team effort it was to complete the project.
“It does take a lot of us to work together and to make this possible,” said Councilwoman Anna Kaplan. “I’m just so grateful that I could be a small part of it.”
Photo: Roslyn Landmark Society President Howard Kroplick (left) chats with Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Town Clerk Wayne Wink (Photo by Teri West)