IRVING - The roadside along the New York State Thruway in Irving has been without its iconic Big Indian statue on Milestrip Road for the past four months.
Motorists, however, can again look out for the statue to know the Silver Creek exit is coming, since it has returned to its home.
Cyrus Schindler, Big Indian Smoke Shop owner, said the statue was put back up along the Thruway last week.
The Big Indian statue which stands at the Big Indian Smoke Shop on Milestrip Road in Irving is back overlooking the Thruway.
P-J photo by Samantha McDonnell
"It looked bare out there without it," Schindler said.
The statue was vandalized in early June with 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 next to the Thruway. The statue has been stored in Schindler's warehouse since the incident.
The vandals, who were able to get away with the hand, were eventually caught, but Schindler did not want to release their identities.
"They did help pay for the repairs," Schindler said.
Repairs to the fiberglass statue were just completed last week. Schindler said many people 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.