The Girl Puzzle Deserted in Lighthouse Park, Just One Year Later


With just short-term historical memory in play, The Girl Puzzle, deserted like a no longer cuddly stuffed doll, is troubling. Hundreds of dollars plus priceless creativity went into putting it there, and now wasting in the rain… Why?

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Just a year ago, in an exciting ribbon-cutting ceremony, Roosevelt Island celebrated the newly completed Girl Puzzle. Artist Amanda Matthews brought her extended family, some of them models for the work, to the ceremony.

City Council Member Ben Kallos made his last official visit to the Island before term-limiting out. And State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, a champion of women’s rights, showed her support.

Even former RIOC President/CEO Susan Rosenthal, who sparked the project and got it rolling, returned to Roosevelt Island for the first time.

Amanda Matthews, in December 2021, spoke about her creation before the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

That day, it was hard to imagine The Girl Puzzle deserted, virtually discarded in Lighthouse Park, but that’s the story.

While it was joyful and a lively party at The Sanctuary followed, the internationally celebrated installation might as well have been chopped up and shipped out from there.

Not a single sign anywhere on Roosevelt Island points in its direction, and there’s been no follow-up publicity. RIOC’s hopelessly out-of-date website never mentions it. It’s likely that most visitors and even some newcomer residents don’t even know it’s there.

This is what you get today:

Rarely visited and unknown to the state agency charged with overseeing Roosevelt Island, The Girl Puzzle collects rain in remote Lighthouse Park.

And it’s not just because it’s a damp autumn day. It was like this on the brightest days of summer.

There oughta be a law…

For most visitors to Roosevelt Island, Lighthouse Park is remote, but without any support, publicity or signs, it’s even more so. RIOC cheerlessly calls it a nice location for barbecues and fishing.

After the ribbon-cutting…

Like so much else, the state’s own remoteness and disconnection with the community deadens the spirit again, leaving even the remarkable Girl Puzzle deserted, just one year after the popular ribbon cutting.

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