‘They broke my heart’: sculptor regrets removal of Central Park Covid monument | New York

A giant sculpture installed this week in the southeast corner of Central Park in New York City as a tribute to health professionals and Covid-19 victims has been taken down – an apparent victim of confusion and bureaucracy.

The Italian sculptor behind the big red heart, Sergio Furnari, said he was walking by the Grand Army Plaza on Thursday afternoon with friends when he noticed that his Heroes Heart monument was gone.

As he went to file a police report, he said, he was jumped from station to station until an officer showed him a video of people removing the 10-foot, 3,000-lb monument and placing it on a truck.

“They literally broke my heart,” Furnari said.

Furnari admitted he did not have permission to place the heart in the park, but considered a $ 4,000 grant from the city council as permission for a temporary installation. He said he considered the removal of his memorial to be “an abuse of power”.

A message seeking comment was left to the Central Park Conservancy, the non-profit that manages the park on behalf of the city. Furnari said he planned to go to the organization on Monday to find out what happened.

Furnari said he wanted the sculpture to be a place of emotional and spiritual comfort in the busy city and not just a popular place for selfies, though he said he was cool with it too.

A woman takes selfies with her daughter in front of the monument.
A woman takes selfies with her daughter in front of the monument. Photo: Dieu-Nalio Chery / AP

The work was an extension of a work created earlier in the pandemic, a life-size sculpture of a health worker kneeling with his arms outstretched against the sky.

In an interview prior to the sculpture’s removal, the artist explained his vision.

“Everyone suffers in different ways and needs all sorts of comfort,” Furnari said. “I hope this heart helps them remember their loved ones and cope with the grief. For a moment, they can forget their problems. ”

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