MOSES DUE FOR A FACE LIFT WASHINGTON PARK RESTORATION TO COMMENCE IN APRIL

Deborah Gesensway Staff writer
Section: LOCAL,  Page: B1

Date: Saturday, January 2, 1988

The statue of Moses in Washington Park will be getting a new glow and have an arm reattached this spring when a New York City consultant brings a crew to town to restore the centerpiece of Albany's central park.


"Moses Smiting the Rock" has seen its bronze dull with age and has had an arm from one of the children portrayed below Moses broken off, according to David Quinn of Lancaster Street, president of the Washington Park Conservancy. Quinn said the conservancy, a not-for-profit citizens group, decided to make restoration of the statue a priority for next year. The $15,000 job is being funded half by private donations and half by a trust fund for the statue's maintenance set up by statue donor Henry L. King.


The city Department of Parks and Recreation will donate equipment and some manpower to the job, according to city Parks Commissioner Richard Barrett.


Hired to do the work, Quinn said, is one of the country's most renowned statue conservators, Steven Tatti of New York City. The method Tatti uses, Quinn said, is state-of- the-art.


Two of his methods include shooting glass pellets or crushed walnut shells at the metal to clean off corrosion.


But the Albany statue will be cleaned just by scrubbing with soap and water. Then, Quinn said, a waxlike material will be applied to protect the metal from the elements.


This method, he said, not only doesn't damage the statue, but also can be maintained for years to come and is much cheaper than the blasting method.


He said Tatti will bring a crew up from New York City during the last week of April to work on the statue. The work should be completed in time for this spring's Tulip Festival in Washington Park.


Part of the plan, he said, is to train some of the city's parks maintenance crews on how to maintain the wax coating.


Quinn was elected in November to replace Robert Briber, who was president of the Washington Park Conservancy since it was founded nearly three years ago. In addition to repairing the Moses statue, Quinn said another priority is to apply for grant money to make some major improvements in the park.


One of these, he said, could be installing curbing or something else to keep cars from ruining the lawn when they park along the perimeter roads.


To gather information about the 84-acre park, which was built starting in the 1860s by followers of Manhattan's Central Park architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Quinn said several historians are putting together a $10,000 study of the park.


Quinn said that report should be completed this summer.


Another goal this year, he said, is to persuade city officials to close off a spur road that leads from Lancaster Street into the park.


"It's superfluous," Quinn said. "It's just used as a shortcut, and a lot of people are concerned about the amount of traffic in the park."


He said he would also like the group's membership roll to grow from its current level of 190.