Statues of Thomas Edison and Charles Steinmetz have been locked in conversation at the corner of Erie Boulevard and South Ferry Street for more than a year now.
This past week, someone readied them to continue their conversation comfortably into the winter — dressing both in colorful crocheted hats and shawls.
The items were on the statues since at least Friday and appear to be the result of a social media phenomenon called “Yarn Bombing.”
Local businessman Brian Merriam, who helped make the statues of the Schenectady greats a reality, welcomed the fun in an email Tuesday, calling it “simply grand!”
Merriam, who was traveling, recalled hearing about the colorful additions from Phil Tiberio, of EOS Technology, which is near the statues. Merriam said Tiberio immediately ran down and took pictures.
“Now that the weather is turning cold … it is nice that our citizens care so much for Tommy & Charlie’s comfort!” Merriam wrote in the email. “May we all, too, care about the warmth and comfort of our flesh-and-blood neighbors as well!”
Unveiled in May 2015, the statues have were created to honor Edison and Steinmetz, their contributions to the world and their deep connections to Schenectady. Roses have been left at the statue previously, including one left in Steinmetz’ hand in June 2015.
The latest additions were more colorful.
Edison benefitted from a green crocheted hat and a multi-colored granny square poncho. Steinmetz, the Wizard of Schenectady, sported a more subdued red crocheted hat and shawl made from variegated yarn.
Both Edison and Steinmetz also modeled wrist-warmers, Edison’s were bright yellow to catch the eye of passers-by.
Examples of Yarn Bombing
— Hazel McDowell (@HazardHazel) August 9, 2016
Yarn bombing appears to have been growing for at least a couple of years. Craftsy.com describes it as yarn in any form attached to a public object. Other examples can be seen on Twitter, with the hashtag #YarnBombing.
Tiberio, who alerted Merriam to the new accoutrements, said his first thoughts went to Edison’s and Steinmetz’ grandmothers.
“I thought it was pretty funny,” Tiberio said Tuesday. “It looked like Grandma Steinmetz and Edison got their grandkids ready for the winter.”
However amusing, the installation was short-lived. A caller Tuesday morning prompted police to refer the matter to the proper city department for removal of the items, a police spokesman said. Police checked the statues, and, finding no damage, forwarded the details to the city. The items were removed by Tuesday evening.
Merriam, president and fourth-generation owner of Merriam Insurance Agency, is also working to make a more permanent addition to the small park surrounding the statues: lighting. But they’re still about $2,500 short of making that a reality, after donated time and equipment. Merriam is working to raise the final amount to make the lighting a reality.
He noted the public interest in the statues and the icons they depict, including nice notes received about the project.
“Seems that these guys’ statues have been long overdue in many peoples’ minds,” Merriam wrote.
Reach Gazette reporter Steven Cook at 395-3122, [email protected] or @ByStevenCook on Twitter.