The Lady's Man ...
How did Syracuse's iconic sheet metal man meet Lady Liberty?
If you didn't grow up in Syracuse driving past the man made of sheet metal on Geddes Street, perchance you have seen him in the Onondaga Historical Society's lobby?
Syracuse's metal guy was created by the West Side's Heaphy family as a signpost for their long running sheet metal business and hardware store. What better sign, than one that displays what you do artistically, while also delighting young and old alike.
Rather than just a tin man, Syracuse's Dennis Heaphy embodies the uniqueness of many of the Wizard of Oz's characters' desires. To the munchkins, he's a giant of a man at 6' 3" who can sing bass, baritone and tenor. He is also whip smart, loaded with courage, a seeker of justice, has a big heart and is in love with his home place of Syracuse. But more important to Liberty, he is a student of history, a man of the boards, a union actor (AEA), writer and filmmaker, who also works with the professional stage hands union (I ATSE). And that winding road lead to Lady Liberty.
Traveling to Ellis Island
While knocking around the theater scene in New York City, Heaphy was asked to design and build a stage for a troop performing on Ellis Island in New York's harbor. That he did, and while on the property, he encountered the deputy director of maintenance for Ellis Island and also the Statue of Liberty, which are tied together as a national monument and tourist destination.
Noting Heaphy's skills, the deputy director asked if he could take a look at the brass windows in the lady's crown that were not closing properly. In a matter of moments Heaphy was able to get a window operating and diagnosed the fix for the rest of her panes. He ascended to the lady's head each evening and worked until it was time to catch the last boat off the island. Setting up and breaking down each day was stringing the repair out, so he asked if it might be possible to stay overnight in order to get many of the easier repairs finished.