Greenport’s osprey flies from harbor to the shore

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Employees of Costello Marine attach a new base to the osprey sculpture after lowering from its steel perch.

The osprey sculpture that has adorned a dock at Steve Clarke’s Greenport Yacht & Shipbuilding Company was  taken down Tuesday for its eventual trip to Jean Cochran Park in Peconic, despite protests from some villagers.

The sculpture — including a steel pedestal made from I-beams from the wreckage of the World Trade Center  — was originally intended as a gift to the village. A previous Village Board didn’t accept ownership, and rejected an accompanying proposal to place the work in Mitchell Park.

During Monday’s Village Board meeting former trustee Bill Swiskey challenged the board to explain why it hadn’t accepted the sculpture. He also questioned the patriotism of board members, even though some hadn’t been elected at the time the gift was offered.

Mr. Swiskey’s words rankled Trustee Mary Bess Phillips, who said her niece has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and she resented anyone questioning her patriotism.

“Some of the comments tonight were over the top,” said Mayor David Nyce.

The osprey sculpture is now on the landward side of the dock where it will remain while the artist who created it, Roberto Julio Bessin, refurbishes it.  The town hopes to have the piece in Cochran Park by Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the terrorists attacks.