IRVING - Driving along the New York State Thruway the past four months, the roadside has been bare without the Big Indian statue on Milestrip Road in Irving. Motorists can look out for the statue once again to know the Silver Creek exit is coming, since it has returned to its home.
Big Indian Smoke Shop Owner Cyrus Schindler said the statue was put back up along the Thruway last week. Schindler was pleased.
"It looked bare out there without it," Schindler said in a phone interview.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
The Big Indian statue which stands at the Big Indian Smoke Shop on Milestrip Road in Irving is back overlooking the Thruway.
The statue was vandalized in early June causing damage to the feet, arms, upper chest and headdress.
Vandals cut the feet off the statue when they could not get the bolts undone and tried to drag the statue to the Thruway to steal. However, the 28-foot-tall statue was too big of an undertaking and was left in the ditch adjacent to the Thruway. The statue has been stored in Schindler's warehouse since the incident.
The vandals were able to get away with the hand though. The vandals were caught but Schindler did not want to release their identities but they did pay for damages.
"They did help pay for the repairs," Schindler said.
Repairs to the statue, which is made out of fiberglass, started after the vandalism and were just completed last week. Schindler said many were asking when the statue would be put back.
"It's fiberglass. It's a slow (repair) process. You have to dry it and sand it," Schindler said. "We got (the statue) back up as soon as we could."
The statue has been overlooking the Thruway for 12 years. An identical statue stands in the front of the store but has been taken down due to weather damage. That statue is still in the process of being repaired and will be put back upon completion.
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