Friday, September 7, 2007

The Octagon Sabrina & Amherst College

A few months ago I was up at Lighthouse Park and upon my return to Northtown via the Western Promenade I encountered the sculpture of Sabrina. She sits just West of the Northern Wing of the Octagon. No plaque explained her presence, who she is, or who the sculptor is.

A cursory search of the name Sabrina mixed with sculpture leads the inquisitive to Amherst College and the deep history of Sabrina on that campus. A off hand conversation with an Octagon resident at the playground yielded the fact that Octagon developer Bruce Becker is an alumnus of Amherst College providing the connection to why this statue is here.

The early history of the statue at Amherst is quite amusing written by an alumnus of the Class of 1910. It appears that the statute is now kept hidden to protect her from the constant class rivalries that resulted with her being kidnapped, displayed in precarious locations and re-hidden. She was rolled out in 2005 after the Class of 1980 pledged, in honor of their 25 anniversary, to donate a huge sum of money to the college and be named the official Sabrina class.

Amherst Alumni website pages confirm that Bruce Becker is a member of that Class of 1980. So this Sabrina is apparently Mr. Becker's homage to his alma matter and its traditions. A post script is that Amherst had its own Octagon building so perhaps Mr. Becker was destined to rebuild Roosevelt Island's Octagon.

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