2011 Top Story No. 8: The osprey sculpture flies away

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Many in Greenport were sorry to see it go, but Roberto Julio Bessin’s osprey sculpture found a new perch in Cochran Park in Peconic this year.

Was relocating Roberto Julio Bessin’s osprey sculpture “Morning Call” from Greenport’s waterfront to Jean Cochran Park in Peconic a good thing?

The answers seems largely geography-based.

Many Southolders are happy to have the wire representation of a majestic fish hawk serve as the town’s 9/11 memorial. But a number of Greenporters vigorously objected to the loss of the work, which for nine years overlooked the harbor, perched on an I-beam from the 33rd floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower.

During its time in Greenport the sculpture stood on private property, but the village could not agree upon a new site after the owner said it must be moved. The town stepped in and offered part of Cochran Park on Peconic Lane.

“I’m delighted and pleased,” said sculpture owner Jim Miller of Southold, who arranged for the transfer.

On September 1 a large commercial helicopter flew the sculpture to Peconic. It was then hoisted back atop the beam installed earlier. The town held a somber observance of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by the base of the sculpture, with many attendees later coming up to place a hand upon the beam.

Mr. Bessin said he was torn over the move. “Greenport is such a wonderful village,” he said. “There’s such warmth to the community.”

But he took solace in knowing that the big bird, and the trade center beam, are now more accessible than when they stood at the end of a shipyard’s dock.

“I’m liking the site more and more,” he said.

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