Athletic Center Welcomes Mural
The historic G. Hunter Jones mural, prominently featured in Sears in Hicksville since the 1960s, recently found a new home at the Town of Oyster Bay Hicksville Athletic Center on South Broadway.
After the closure of Sears in April, residents feared what the future of the mural would hold, but much to the relief of those concerned, the mural was removed, preserved and sent for restoration with the Philadelphia-based Materials Conservation.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, Councilwoman Michele Johnson, Councilman Louis Imbroto, State Assemblyman Michael Montesano and County Legislator Rose Marie Walker joined with Executive Director of the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce Lionel Chitty, Larry Rose of Seritage, the future developer of the former Sears property, and other members of the community to celebrate the return of the mural to Hicksville.
“This beautiful piece of art has great meaning to our community,” said Saladino. “When Sears announced it was closing its doors last spring, the fate of this important piece of our history was in jeopardy. We joined together with concerned members of our community and successfully ensured its preservation.”
Earlier this year, Seritage Growth Properties, future developer of the former Sears property, funded a feasibility study to determine how the mural can best be saved and preserved.
The oil-painted mural depicts a historical map of Long Island along with portraits of famous residents, such as Walt Whitman, Henry Hudson, John Roebling, Peter Stuyvesant, John Underhill and Theodore Roosevelt. The work also includes a detailed map of Long Island and a timeline of importantly significant dates and events.
G. Hunter Jones, a prolific Manhattan-based artist, spent nearly two decades traveling the nation to localize the sprawling department stores with his oil paintings.
“When the opportunity to preserve history presents itself, you have to take definitive action. You may not get a second chance,” said Johnson. “We studied several potential locations in the town and the local community to relocate the mural. I am so pleased we were able to keep it right in the heart of the Town of Oyster Bay in Hicksville, down the road from its original location.”
Legislator Walker added, “Over the years, this mural had become very important to the fabric of the community. Many residents expressed their emotional attachment to the piece, equating it with decades of shopping with their families in a landmark destination.”
—Submitted by Town of Oyster Bay