Along “lost” piece of Walkway Over the Hudson returns home this month in the form of an inspirational work of art.
Momentum, a sculpture created with the steel from the former railroad that is now the Walkway, will be dedicated to the site during a ceremony at Upper Landing Park on Saturday, September 26.
The 12-foot-tall copper sculpture resembles an old-fashioned locomotive, trudging along its path at high speeds with a large plume of smoke at the front. It pays respect to the busy railroad that once linked Dutchess and Ulster counties before a fire in 1974 destroyed its rails. The railroad carried troops during World War II and was considered a technological marvel during its initial construction in the late 1800s.
In 2009, Saugerties artist and steelworker Michael Ciccone was working as part of the demolition crew that would transform the defunct railroad into one of the Hudson Valley’s biggest attractions. Ciccone had the creative intuition to use large, discarded portions of steel to create a unique, modern sculpture. He spent months hanging hundreds of feet above the Hudson River on a safety line, utilizing a blowtorch to acquire the segments he needed to create the piece.
Michael Ciccone’s Momentum (left) is set to be dedicated to the Upper Landing Park on September 26. At right, the artist works at the site of the Walkway Over the Hudson, prior to its reconstruction. He spent months hanging from a harness above the Hudson River in order to source the materials for his art
“Building the steel into modern art, for me, not only preserves the history of the bridge, but it adds to the future,” says Ciccone.
Ciccone has crafted an entire series of abstract works made from the recycled railroad steel, with Momentum acting as the initial piece for the project.
“All who saw the work were struck by its originality and novelty,” says local artist Franc Palaia, who helped form a fundraising committee to purchase the sculpture in order to install it at the park. “Nobody is making sculpture like this except Michael — especially using finite materials that will never be seen again.”
Now, the sculpture, which has been on display at the Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center for the past five years, is finally coming home to its original place of inspiration.
If you go:
Momentum Walkway Sculpture Dedication Ceremony
When: Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 2 p.m.
Where: Upper Landing Park, 83 N. Water St., Poughkeepsie