SCHENECTADY — Lady Liberty, a symbol of opportunity and hope, is now a symbol of our turbulent times as coronavirus continues to spread throughout the nation.
The city’s few remaining commuters on Erie Boulevard Tuesday morning found the statue sporting face protection courtesy of an unknown benefactor.
Fittingly, the bandana-type shroud is emblazoned with a stars and stripes-type pattern.
“It’s a part of our history that’s been around for 70 years now, so it means quite a bit to many Schenectadians, some who remember when the Boys Scouts put it up across from the YMCA at its original location,” said Bill Buell, Schenectady County historian and Gazette contributor.
The statue was erected in 1950 in what is now known as Gateway Plaza and removed 2017.
The mayor planted her at the corner of Union Avenue and Erie Boulevard last summer.
Statues of Thomas Edison and Charles Steinmetz, the two most iconic figures in General Electric history, were discovered with surgical masks last week.
Both scientists lived through the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed approximately 650,000 people in the U.S.
Buell, a retired Daily Gazette reporter, said whoever is outfitting the landmarks is performing a community service.
“We don’t know who put the masks up on Steinmetz and Edison, but that was a great idea, and whoever put the mask up on Lady Liberty — perhaps it was the same individual — has also created an educational tool to remind people to take precautions,” Buell said.
Mayor Gary McCarthy said the prankster’s act generated lots of positive comments on Tuesday.
Stockade resident David Giacalone has been one of the most outspoken advocates for returning the statute to Gateway Plaza and has sought to keep her in the public eye.
“I’ve contacted a bunch of people who I thought might have done it, but no one has confessed,” Giacalone said.