Adopt-A-Monument: Winter Update 2021
Maintaining "Die Lorelei" in Joyce Kilmer Park
Way before “placemaking” came to describe the “the process of creating quality places in which people want to live, work, play and learn,” the Stephen and Anna-Maria Kellen Foundation, through the Adopt-A-Monument program, spearheaded the 1998 restoration of the then,100-year-old marble Heinrich Heine Fountain, by German sculptor Ernest Herter. It has proven to be one of the most meaningful and influential catalysts that revived Joyce Kilmer Park, bringing grandeur and pride to the Bronx community and quality-of-life enhancements that Parks provide.
The fountain, honoring the great German writer, Heinrich Heine, immortalized the poet’s celebrated lyric Die Lorelei, the legend of a siren whose beauty and singing lured sailors to their deaths at the dangerous narrows of the Rhine River.
Each year since the restoration, the MAS has maintained the fountain through the continued generosity of the Kellen Foundation. This fall we did extensive cleaning, carried out by Jude Clary, Allegrone Co., and Amanda Trienens, Cultural Heritage Conservation. Using non-ionic detergents, heavy biological growth was removed. Special scaffolding was built to have better access to “Die Lorelei” at the top of the fountain. The results on her face are fantastic. Extra days were spent on consolidation, filling cracks and joints of former repairs, and repointing what had weathered out over time. The joints between the marble fountain and the concrete basin floor were failing; old caulking was removed and replaced with new caulking.
In appreciation of the MAS’s long maintenance, the Bronx Parks horticultural staff, under the wonderful leadership of Bronx Parks Commissioner Lawrence Scoones, began a tradition of installing elegant winter greenery around the basin of the Heine Fountain, protecting, and enhancing the old-world splendor of “Die Lorelei,” beloved centerpiece of the Bronx.