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The Statue of Liberty is one of those places real New Yorkers never go, but the reopening of its crown-level observation deck might be enough incentive to hop the ferry over to Liberty Island, tourist throngs be damned. As the AP points out, the crown has been closed to the public since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but as of July 4, 2009, 30 visitors an hour will be allowed to ascend the 168-step spiral staircase to the gray iron observation deck, where spectacular views of New York Harbor extend for miles.
Statues / Ukraine / → All Tags
Ex-communist countries seem to have an odd relationship with statues, with Serbia wanting to put up Rocky or Sam Fox and Russia going for the enema tribute (in bronze). We don't get it, but we figure they'll make great talking points in our photo albums.
This week it's Ukraine that's having a statue drama. The town of Golaya Pristan is celebrating its 299th birthday and the powers that be figured that marking this occasion with a quarter-ton concrete frog statue would be the way to go.
Because frogs are famous in Golaya Pristan? No, of course not. Because a neighboring village erected a small bronze frog, but those from Golaya Pristan think bronze is too showy. A concrete frog shows it belongs to the ordinary people. Right.
Washington builds statues to presidents, and New York shows love for liberty. But when it comes time for Milwaukee to build a statue, they sure know how to do it right.
Behold the Fonz Statue, which debuted last month along the city's Riverwalk, not far from the fictional setting of "Happy Days."
An online fundraising drive helped raise some of the $85,000 needed to complete the bronze statue, which somehow manages to look even creepier than the 60-year-old version of Henry Winkler.
Statues / Monuments / Attractions / Tourist Attractions / National Parks / New York Times / → All Tags
The weather must be good up there: After seven years, the National Park Service is thinking about re-opening the Statue of Liberty's crown to visitors willing to make the climb.
The statue reopened in 2004 after improvements were made to get the monument up to post-9/11 security standards. But the spiral staircase to the crown, most recently replaced in 1986 for Lady Liberty's centennial, isn't up to code and may have to be replaced before it's an option for up to 30 island-bound visitors at a time. A recent Park Service memo leaked by a New York congressman sought bids to make the crown safer.
On our first trip to New York City we walked all the way up to the crown, and the view is incredible. Let's upgrade this lady!
Russia Travel / Spas / Art / Public Art / Statues / Weird / → All Tags
Here's a tip: When you find yourself assuring reporters that the $42,000 bronze monument you've put on display involves "no kitsch or obscenity," your art project was probably a bad idea. The statue in question is a tribute to the enema that was unveiled at a spa in the Russian city of Zheleznovodsk on Wednesday. The Botticelli-inspired monument depicts three cherubic little angles holding aloft a bronze syringe bulb that's used for anal cleansing.
The sculpture was presented to the public this weekend at a celebration featuring models and a banner bearing the charming Soviet slogan "Let's beat constipation and sloppiness with enemas." The owner of the spa said enemas are "almost a symbol" of the Caucasus, dotted as the region is with retreats offering visitors the opportunity to get local mineral water sprayed up their ass. (Hey, Zheleznovodsk does mean "Iron Waters.")
Maybe when the spa gang realizes how ridiculous this makes them look they can change that butt bulb into an onion?
Serbia really started getting in the Jaunted radar when they began to build statues in honor of Rocky Balboa and Samantha Fox (her monument was later abandoned when a Serbian audience started chanting to see her breasts during her concert). Now Serbia's obsession with statues is going even further, according to a recent NY Times report.
Apparently Tarzan--or more correctly, the actor who played Tarzan most famously, Johnny Weissmuller--was born in Medja in Serbia. And so the town of Medja is busily raising money to build a big bronze Tarzan. (Please don't tell them that Johnny Weissmuller's Wikipedia entry disputes his Serbian origin, saying it's more likely he was born in Romania).
Interestingly, it turns out there could be a serious sociological side to all Serbian statue madness. Experts say that Serbs are turning to Hollywood icons because they don't know who to honor from their own complicated history. Since they're not likely to work that out anytime soon, the crazy statues should keep coming, giving us more and more reasons to head to Serbia.
[Photo of Philly's Rocky Statue: Damon Green]
Having a statue in your European town can lend a certain amount of prestige. Whether it's Rocky Balboa in Serbia or an ugly guy in Italy, a large statue can make the difference between tourists visiting your otherwise unexciting village or skipping it entirely.
So now you'll have to add the southwestern Russian village of Kalach to your list. You can find it on a map near the larger town of Voronezh, and the people of Kalach want you to come see their new pig monument. In a town famous for its pork sausages, the local people wanted to give their thanks to pigs, whose meat has provided their livelihood for the last 80 years. Rush to the pig statue of Kalach before the crowds do.
[Sadly not the Kalach statue: christine592]
The world is full of strange monuments but last Sunday we got one more. You may not realize that there is a World Association of Ugly People. (Of course we'd never heard of it, since we're not members.) It began in Italy and now has 25 branches throughout the world.
In honor of this large group of people who believe that "what's underneath is what counts", the town of Piobbico in Italy's north unveiled a monument to ugly people on the weekend. It shows an ugly man looking at himself in the mirror, and the artist hopes that onlookers will feel encouraged to look in the mirror to see beyond their beauty or ugliness. Deep.
Serbians must be breathing a sigh of relief at the news there is now a real reason for tourists to visit Serbia. With the scrapping of the Samantha Fox statue and the lack of world acclaim for the decision to build a Rocky Balboa statue in the village of Zitiste, things were looking shaking until the recent discovery of kryptonite on Serbian land.
Yep, that magical mineral previously thought to come from Superman's home planet has now been unearthed by mining giant Rio Tinto in Jadar, Serbia. It's actually a new mineral but coincidentally it matches exactly to the invented formula for Superman's kryptonite. Unfortunately, it's going to get named jadarite after the Serbian town, but we think there's definite potential for a big Superman statue now.
[Photo: Dan Coulter]
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Eastern Europeans are going a little crazy over statues recently. From plans for a Rocky Balboa statue in Serbia to a (now axed) proposal for a giant Sam Fox, the Czech proposal to build a statue of Sigmund Freud in Prague seems positively mundane.
And perhaps locals saw it the same way. Voters rejected the statue of Freud for Kozi Placek (Goat Square) in favor of--not Rocky or Samantha--a statue of goats instead. The reasoning? You can put a statue of Freud anywhere you want, but three goats really only belong on "Goat Square." Can't argue with that. But what Freud would say about the meaning of all this is something we'd rather not contemplate.
· Prague Residents Reject Freud Statue [Prague Daily Monitor]
· Rocky Solution to Serbian Landslides [Jaunted]
· Serbia Doesn't Heart Sam Fox [Jaunted]
It seemed like such a touching tribute: Serbia was ready to build a statue of Samantha Fox simply because she'd agreed to sing there (and they'd even decided on super-high-quality marble for her breasts).
But when Sam sang in the town of Cacak this week, she stormed off stage when they began a chant about wanting to see her breasts. Sam then ditched a ministerial dinner in her honor, and the ministers have now ditched plans for her memorial statue. Serbian media have taken a bit of fence-sitting attitude, but admitted this:
Local media said the hall she had played in had been only half full and the audience had made it clear they were not there to hear her sing.
Oh well, as far as we know the Rocky statue is still going ahead, so there's still a reason to visit Serbia.
· Sam Fox Statue Scrapped [Ananova]
· Move Over Rocky, Serbia's Got Another Idea [Jaunted]
· Rocky Solution to Serbian Landslides [Jaunted]
Apparently, knowing that a giant statue of Rocky Balboa is already going up in their country is not enough to satisfy the people of Cacak, Serbia. And that's why citizens in the town of Cacak are about to build a life-size statue of nudie model-turned-pop singer Samantha Fox.
Long since forgotten in most of the world, the Serbians of Cacak are so grateful that Sam agreed to sing at a local pop festival that they decided to honor her with a marble sculpture. And they've done enough planning ahead to come up with this insight:
We are also aware that her most famous attributes may require special treatment, so we are planning on using the best quality marble only.
Cacak's decided that Sam Fox is their local hero and they'll be able to see her (and those famous attributes) whenever they stroll through the streets. We dread to think of who's next on the immortalization-in-Serbian-villages list.
· Serbian Town to Erect Life-Size Samantha Fox [Scotsman]
· Rocky Solution to Serbian Landslides [Jaunted]