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Waxing with the Goddess Minerva: Volunteers Clean Famed Brooklyn Statue

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Statue of Minerva gets a waxing in Green-Wood cemetery Statue of Minerva gets a waxing in Green-Wood cemetery (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Perched at Brooklyn's highest natural point (200 ft. above sea level) in Green-Wood cemetery, the Roman Goddess Minerva received a fresh waxing Tuesday morning, courtesy of a few French volunteers (and one American).

"I know that when I'm back in France I'll tell everybody that I know that there's this great cemetary and this great statue," said Ines Reulet, 21 from France, one of six volunteers in New York for the next two weeks with the Preservation Volunteers of America program.

Reulet says she wanted to discover something other than France's castles this summer. She and the other volunteers spent the morning applying fresh coats of wax to Minerva and will be tidying up some granite tombstones for the rest of the afternoon.   

Richard Moylan, president of Green-Wood Cemetery, says the statue was placed there by the local businessman Charles Higgins in 1920 to commemorate the Battle of Brooklyn. "She is saluting the Statue of Liberty. And that's especially important with our French volunteers, since the statue was a gift from France and France helped us with the Revolutionary War," Moylan says. "And Liberty is actually, we think, looking right at us, so Minerva is saluting her."

Minerva sits near the grave sites of Charles Ebbets, of Brooklyn Dodger fame, and the composer Leonard Bernstein.

The volunteers are headed to the Bartow-Pell Mansion in the Bronx next week.

Green-Wood cemetery is currently lobbying the Bloomberg administration to pass legislation that would prevent the construction of buildings that block the view from Minerva to Lady Liberty.

Preservation Volunteers of America-- 1920 Charles HIggins who felt strongly that battle of brooklyn didn't get the proper recognition-- important battle-- so he put up statue Frederick Ruxtel-- saluting statue of liberty-- 
France helped us win revollutionary war- saluting
modeled after Ramparts in France-- free room and board-- work a little
Richard Moylan, president of greenwood cemetary
standing at highest natural point in brkly-- 200 ft above sea level-- Lenoard Bernstein buried right behind Edwin Litchfield-- 
"While he was away from home, his property was taken by the city of New York for Prospect Park. So, he's buried, allegedly, away from Prospect Park, and actually that is true. we're nto sure if hte reasonign is legitamate, that's the rumor."
Charlie Ebbets across the road
--
Grave digger by trade-- Was doing it for 7 years w Volunteers-- hopes no buildings are built to block the view 
(first name?) Maidia-- been working for 12 years total
--
Student at Fordham- art history--architecture -- found out about statue 2 years ago
Billenpape Park work on stone work in gardens- Bartell Pell House--
Hannah Gall, 21, live in Clinton Hill 
--
wanted to discover things other than castles-- 
Ines Reulet (who-lei), 23- in US for 2 weeks-- Poli-sci grad- Brussels
Stephanie Lefrancois, 35, from France, waxing the Minerva statue
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Stephanie Lefrancois, 35, from France, waxing the Minerva statue

View of the Statue of Liberty from the highest natural point in Brooklyn
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

View of the Statue of Liberty from the highest natural point in Brooklyn

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