New York City Station Eagles

Railfan & Railroad MagazineNovember 2010 issue of Railfan & Railroad magazine has a 6 page feature article on the Eagles

PRR STATION EAGLES

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Hoisting the eagle down to a flatbed for transport. October 28, 1963 with the official start of the Penn Station demolition.  The three officials with suits and hard hats looking at the lowering; on the right is LIRR President Thomas M. Goodfellow,
on the left is J. Benton Jones - VP of the PRR and center is Irving Mitchell Felt - President of Madison Square Garden (and thus the name "The Felt Forum"). Photo: Newsday


NY Times July 14, 1966 edition.  It shows an eagle being lowered from one of the last remaining facades to be demolished.

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Pennsylvania Station New 1910


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One can see the eagle’s original perch above the main entrance Penn Station c.1959

 

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The Keystone: Spring 1998 
Article: John E. Chance
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Article references Adolf Weinman sculptures: Eagles and "Day and Night"
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Figures of Day and Night, including the 2 smaller eagles adjacent to the figures, were for years located at Ringwood State Park in New Jersey.

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The NY TIMES pictured a "Figure of Day" in the New Jersey Meadowlands dump. This DAY would account for the third figure known to exist.

The two previously known DAYS were in the statuary groups in Kansas City and Ringwood State Park, NJ (now at the NJT Newark Training Facility) so it appears that all figures of DAY have been accounted for. March 25, 1998 NY TIMES

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The Day and Night relief on the LIRR Concourse at Penn Station.

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"Figure of Night" Brooklyn Museum

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Universal Studios in Orlando

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NJT Training Facility Newark, NJ c.2002, NJT obtained the statuary and had it restored by Steve Tatti. Since then, the statuary has languished outside of the NJT Training Facility building in Newark. Latest word is that the statuary might be placed at the new facility that NJT is planning at Penn Station.
Photo/Info: Al Castelli

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Uncrated 11/27/2010
 Photo: Dave Morrison

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The other stone eagle on the left of the Penn Station entrance. Note its real feathered companion.
 9/11/2010 Photo: Al Castelli

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Nov. 27, 1910, Penn Station opened in New York City. Centennial commeration photo Nov. 27, 2010
Dave Morrison

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One of the stone eagles outside Penn Station on 7th Ave. This building is 2 Penn Plaza.  9/11/2010 Photo: Al Castelli
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One of the two original stone eagles outside the current station. They adorned the original Penn Station. This is to the right of the station's current 7th Ave. entrance.  9/11/2010 
Photo: Al Castelli

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Nov. 27, 1910, Penn Station opened in New York City. Centennial commeration photo Nov. 27, 2010
Dave Morrison

COOPER UNION, Ringwood, NJ & Manhattan, NY
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Hoisting of the eagle onto the rooftop. Photo: "Courtesy of Cooper Union"
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Manhattan Campus, NY 1990
Photo: Dave Morrison
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Green Campus in Ringwood, NJ
During the mid 1960s, this eagle was donated to Cooper Union, and it was only later learned that sculptor Adolph Weinman was an alumnus. Originally it was placed on the grounds of the school's Green Campus in Ringwood, New Jersey. It was later moved to a courtyard of the Manhattan Campus and a few years ago, it was moved to one of the schools adjacent building rooftops.
SMITHSONIAN  Washington, DC
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The Smithsonian eagle as it appeared at the US Pavilion of Expo 67, later returned to Washington.  Photo: National Archives of Canada.
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Smithsonian eagle with kids on it.  Note: the Smithsonian eagle and the Cooper Union eagle are the only two mounted on diamond shaped bases.  All others are on square bases
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Smithsonian plaque with erroneous "pink granite" wording.  Supposedly later changed.
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Early 1900's edition of Monumental News stating that all of the Penn Station statuary was carved from Knoxville Marble.

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Smithsonian Institution letter stating that the quarry stone is indeed marble and not granite.

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A letter that I wrote to Newsday setting forth the story of the quarry stone. Dave Morrison

PENN STATION EAGLE - Kansas City, MO 

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Boy Scouts of America, Headquarters Kansas City, MO Eagle statuary 05-22-08 Photo: Dave Morrison

Vinalhaven, ME

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They got an eagle under the erroneous assumption that the "granite" was quarried in Vinalhaven, Maine.

When it was later discovered that the "granite" was supposedly quarried in Milford, Mass., Vinalhaven decided to keep the eagle anyway and dedicate it to the local granite industry.

Much to their chagrin, the quarry stone is marble.

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September 5, 1966

MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY, Kings Point, NY

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KingsPtPlaque.jpg (125587 bytes)There are two at the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. A nearby plaque identifies the eagles as being carved from Pink Granite quarried in Milford, Mass. They are marble. Kings Pt. plaque erroneously referring to as pink granite.

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100 Years Penn Station opened. Eagle commeration photo Nov. 27, 2010 Dave Morrison

MARKET ST. BRIDGE, Philadelphia, PA

PRREaglesMarketStBridgePhiladelphia.jpg (85597 bytes) Four eagles are on the corners of the Market Street Bridge in Philadelphia, PA. The HQ of the PRR was located nearby.

VALLEY FORGE ACADEMY, Valley Forge, PA

PRREaglesValleyForge.jpg (114192 bytes)The Valley Forge eagle was originally owned by Walter Annenberg, who later donated it to the school in memory of Academy boys who had given their life in the nation's wars.

HAMPDEN SYDNEY COLLEGE,  Hampden Sydney, VA
PRREaglesHampdenSydney.jpg (133750 bytes)The Hampden Sydney College received an eagle because William Lashley, who was VP of PRR Public Affairs, was an alumnus of the school.

PENN STATION EAGLE - LIRR Hicksville, NY

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Newsday Article 06/08/2010

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Hicksville PRR Eagle

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Close up view of the deteriorated beak - summer 2009 Location: Hicksville, NY

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Vaja Gabashville grinding new beak 8/28/2010

 Grinding work on the new beak was being performed today by Sculptor Vaja Gabashville, who works for Steve Tatti. He plans on finishing the grinding/shaping work tomorrow.

After the beak is fully shaped, the stone will be finished to match the stone of the eagle.

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Eagle cleaning 

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New beak side view 8/30/2010

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Newsday Blog 08/31/2010

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Newsday 10/17/2010

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The eagle and its pedestal and plaque. The eagle was placed here in 1965 at the request of the Hicksville High School's Latin 4/10/2008 Photo: Al Castelli

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This plaque is affixed to the pedestal of the Penn Station eagle outside the LIRR's Hicksville , NY station. The Hicksville High School's Latin Club sponsored the eagle's placement at the station. Hence, the Latin inscription. 4/10/2008 Photo: Al Castelli

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The location of the Hicksville eagle with an LIRR train pulling into the station. 9/16/2010 Photo: Al Castelli

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A front view of the Penn Station eagle outside Hicksville Station 9/16/2010 Photo: Al Castelli

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Detail of the eagle's back. 9/16/2010 
Photo: Al Castelli

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A 3/4 view of the Penn Station eagle outside Hicksville Station 
9/16/2010 Photo: Al Castelli

25th ANNIVERSARY CEREMONY BOOKLET
LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY/HICKSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL  May 15, 1990


Cover


Page 2-3


Page 4-5


Page 6-7


Page 8-9 


Page 10-11

Bird Week | A Penn Station Eagle in Poughkeepsie

A pink lawn flamingo might have done for anyone else in the 1960s, but Albert Fritsch had something much, much better on his lawn in Freeport, NY: an eagle head from Pennsylvania Station — that civic masterwork by McKim, Mead & White whose destruction ranks in landmark annals with the sack of Rome.

Now, Mr. Fritsch was no vandal. He was a mechanic on the Pennsylvania Railroad at the time of the station’s demolition. And he saved this exceptionally handsome sculptural fragment from almost certain destruction.

“He was just about to get on a train when he noticed the eagle head in the rubble,” his granddaughter, Margaret Flitsch, recalled. “He asked the superintendent, ‘Can I take this?’ The man said: “Knock yourself out. It’s going to the landfill in Jersey anyway."

 

DESCRIPTIONKelly Shimoda for The New York Times Margaret Flitsch, left; her sister, Mary Fritsch, and her daughter, Margaret.  

 

 

 

So home it came, swaddled in newspapers. And it has remained in the family’s hands ever since, even as the family changed its name ever so slightly, from Fritsch to Flitsch. That story is too good to withhold, even though it has nothing to do with the bird head on the lawn:

Albert’s daughter Margaret Fritsch attended Hunter College in the 1950s. She found herself in a chemistry class in which one Richard Flitsch was also enrolled. Since lab partners were assigned alphabetically, they wound up together. Evidently, the chemistry did not end when the lab did. They married and she became, for official purposes, Margaret Fritsch Flitsch. Their daughter, also Margaret Flitsch, invites us to imagine the consternation among bureaucrats when she is asked her mother’s maiden name.

Anyway, back to the eagle. After Mr. Fritsch died in 1992, the eagle migrated to his daughter’s house in Poughkeepsie. And Margaret Flitsch, the granddaughter, would wonder about the sculpture whenever she visited from Wellesley, Mass., where she teaches phys ed in public school. So she did what we all do when we’re curious. She Googled.

DESCRIPTION  

The New York Times The eagle head most likely came from one of the birds (circled in red) that flanked the statuary groups known as “Day” and “Night.”

All roads led to David D. Morrison of Plainview, N.Y., a railroad historian who may know more about the eagles of Pennsylvania Station and Grand Central Terminal than anyone else on earth. It is a rare scholar who could map the location of every known eagle salvaged from these buildings. Mr. Morrison is such a scholar.  

DESCRIPTIONKelly Shimoda for The New York Times.The eagle head salvaged by Albert Fritsch from Pennsylvania Station in the early 1960s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cornice sculptures at Penn Station were the work of Adolph A. Weinman. Mr. Morrison knew that all 14 of the freestanding eagles had been salvaged whole and could be accounted for. It seems that even the barbarians who tore the building down recognized the eagles’ aesthetic — or at least patriotic - value.

What went missing, Mr. Morrison also knew, were four of the eight smaller eagles that flanked the allegorical sculptures "Day" and "Night". The Pennsylvania Railroad unceremoniously dumped at least some of these sculptural groupings, along with many other exquisite architectural elements, in the Meadowlands, where they were photographed years later by Eddie Hausner of The New York Times. The “Day” and “Night” eagles would probably have been of less interest to salvagers than their freestanding counterparts since they were not entirely modeled, missing a section of wing at the juncture with the allegorical figures. That may explain why the head that Mr. Fritsch found was severed cleanly away as a souvenir, though it doesn’t account for its presence in a rubble pile.

Meanwhile, playing e-detective, Ms. Flitsch “friended” Mr. Morrison, then ferreted out his address. On Easter, she remembered to take along a digital camera when she visited her mother. She snapped a few pictures and sent them on to Mr. Morrison, asking him if family legend aligned with fact.  

 

DESCRIPTIONEddie Hausner/The New York Times “Day” in the dump. 1968.

After he compared photos of the Fritsch/Flitsch eagle with photos of the original Weinman sculptures, Mr. Morrison’s verdict was most encouraging. “They certainly look to me to be birds from the same flock,” he said. He alerted the New York Transit Museum, which may include the head as an extra added attraction in its current exhibition, The Once and Future Pennsylvania Station.” The paradox requires no further comment: should the eagle return temporarily to Manhattan after a half-century absence, it will be at Grand Central Terminal.

Ms. Flitsch is not exactly sure what she and her mother and her aunt will finally do with the head. For the time being, she said, “It’s exciting to me that it can be shared.”

And that sentiment puts her family squarely in a great tradition of the citizen salvagers of Pennsylvania Station (“A Quest for Fragments of the Past; Calling Penn Station’s Scattered Remains Back Home,” Aug. 16, 1998). Thirteen years ago, when the never-ending Penn Station redevelopment story was a bit younger, the state corporation charged with the project put out a call for remnants to incorporate into the planned reconstruction.

At the time, Alexandros E. Washburn, the president of the Pennsylvania Station Redevelopment Corporation, said: “People — not governments or corporations or institutions — have been keeping the memory of Penn Station alive for 35 years. We’ve found threads from the fabric of Penn Station stretching across the country.” 

Now it looks as if  Poughkeepsie can be added to this honorable atlas. By David W. Dunlap

The Eagle head that I told you about has so far been on display at:

Dave-Morrison_David-Dunlap_Eagle-Head_ NY-Transit-Museum.jpg (106521 bytes)New York Transit Museum
Dave Morrison and David Dunlap of the NY Times (right)

 


 

Penn-Station_RMLI_DaveMorrison.jpg (62040 bytes)Penn-Station_Day-and-Night_RMLI_DaveMorrison.jpg (103473 bytes) Railroad Museum of Long Island (RMLI) at Greenport, NY

Penn-Station-Eagle-Head_Oyster-Bay-News-2013.jpg (374775 bytes)Oyster Bay Railroad Museum - currently

It is scheduled to be on display at the Museum of the City of New York in April 2015.

After the Museum of the City of New York exhibit is completed, the eagle head will be once again be available for display.

I thought it fitting that the eagle head could be on display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

I've attached a photograph showing you the eagle head and display case when it was at the NY Transit Museum.  That is me on the left and David Dunlap of the NY Times on the right.

The two photos show the eagle head on display at the Railroad Museum of LI (above) and the last image is an article that appealed in the local Oyster Bay newspaper in 2013.

I hope that the eagle head will find a home in Pennsylvania. The eagle head is owned by Margaret Flitsch, who has entrusted me to make arrangements for displaying this historical object. Photos/Info/Archive: Dave Morrison

GRAND CENTRAL STATION EAGLES

The majestic eagle perched on the Viaduct at East 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Ave is actually a relic from the previous Grand Central Terminal, which stood here from 1898-1910. The eagles numbered 10 or 11 (accounts differ). This eagle was discovered at the Capuchin Theological Seminary in Garrison, NY.

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David Morrison (l) and Wes Cowan, one of the hosts on History Detectives which aired on August 20, 2007 (Season 5, Episode 9). That segment dealt with the Grand Central Station eagles.

Bronxville, NY

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Bronxville eagle on Lexington Ave entranceway

BronxvilleEagle.jpg (137129 bytes) This is the eagle that is now over the Lexington Ave entranceway.  It was placed there by the MTA because it was a new entranceway and thus did not impinge upon the building's landmark status. Photo mid 1990s.
"SPACE FARMS" Sussex, NJ
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The Space Farms eagle and the erroneous plaque that they had beside the eagle, prior to learning that the eagle was from GCT.

This eagle was "discovered" in 2003 by Don Quick, president of the Architectural Iron Company of Milford, Pennsylvania.  Don had restored the Bronxville eagle in 1997 and when he came across this eagle on a family visit to the Space Farms and Zoo Museum, he immediately recognized it as being an eagle from Grand Central Station.   A plaque nearby the eagle mistakingly identified it as coming from an old post office building in New York City, but the museum owners were excited to find out the eagle's origination and quickly changed the plaque.  A question remains as to whether this is the missing Mt Vernon eagle or an 11th eagle from the old station building.
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Cold Spring Harbor, NY

ColdSpringEagle2.jpg (156770 bytes) ColdSpringEagle.jpg (179688 bytes) These two eagles are on the grounds of St. Basil's Academy and are not "matched" as are the eagles at the Vanderbilt Museum.  One eagle is on top of a rock cliff beside the entrance roadway and is painted black.  The other eagle is  further down the road and set back from the roadway, somewhat in the woods.  This eagle has a bronzed appearance.
VANDERBILT MUSEUM, Centerport, NY
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These two eagles are immediately inside the main entrance gate of the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, NY.  This was the former home of William K. Vanderbilt, Jr.  These eagles were placed here in 1910 and both are mounted on rather extravagant pedestals.  These eagles are coated with some sort of black preservative.  
Garrison, NY
VanderbiltAveEagle.jpg (113693 bytes) The left photo shows the Garrison eagle over the 42nd St./Vanderbilt Ave, NYC, NY entranceway. In my opinion, this eagle bastardizes the landmark status of GCT.
This is not the view enjoyed by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis when she fought so hard to have the building preserved.

Garrison, NY overlooking the Hudson River. It was a most apropos location, but one had to walk through the woods to get to the eagle. I imagine that it looked beautiful from the vantage of a boat out on the river.

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North Tarrytown, NY
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North Tarrytown, aka Philipse Manor, which later became Sleepy Hollow, NY.
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New York Daily News by David McLane 10/31/1965
SHANDAKEN - Mt. Vernon, NY
ShandakenEagle2.jpg (114788 bytes) ShandakenEagle1.jpg (182614 bytes) This was the eagle purchased by David McLane in 1966 for 100 bucks.  It was one of the two eagles located in Mt. Vernon.
 
Sadly, McLane passed away before this eagle was dedicated on Aug 23, 1986

 

Kings Point, NY
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This one is on the private estate of the late Edwin S. Marks.
 
Another beautiful location for an eagle, overlooking the LI Sound.