When the 15-foot-high, 28-foot-long statue of Peter the Fisherman returned to the Lincoln Center campus on Sept. 25, it was a very different place from the one it left behind in 2009, when movers from Marshall Fine Arts hauled it off campus for storage and restoration.
The garden in which the Frederick Shrady cast-bronze statue had stood was long gone, replaced by the gleaming 22-story Fordham Law School and McKeon Hall residence.
This wasn’t actually the first change of scenery for St. Peter, who was given in 1970 as a gift from William T. Brady, former chair of the Board of Trustees.
St. Peter was originally installed in a reflecting pool that was later filled in. The choice of where to return the statue was likewise far from arbitrary. Tom Walsh, assistant project director for Facilities Development, noted that the statue now sits atop a support column for the one-story “podium” that supports the Robert Moses Plaza, in close proximity to Fordham’s architecture and art studios below.
Similar support columns throughout the plaza hold up trees, each of which can weigh as much as 6,000 pounds. St. Peter, by comparison, is a paltry 2,400 pounds.
Robert R. Grimes, S.J., dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center, said that even though the statue’s original setting is long gone, the story behind the statue—in which Peter reluctantly casts his net into the sea at the behest of Jesus—is still relevant.
“If people actually look at Peter’s face, they’ll see something that we all go through: that sense of frustration, that sense that this isn’t going to work. And at the same time, there’s that sense of hope and saying, ‘Yes, I’m going to try this one more time,’” he said.
“I think that’s applicable at all times to all people, but especially to college students.”