The saga of how Glenside sculptor Christopher Collins created an oversized statue of a dog, Roxey, for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) involves one-off linkages across time, geographies, and artistic specialties. David D. Morrison connected the dots in the publication Trains.
Roxey was the LIRR’s unofficial mascot, regularly riding the trains from 1901–1914. He even accompanied President Theodore Roosevelt in his private rail car, an unexpected encounter that delighted Roosevelt.
When Roxey passed away, he was buried near the tracks at the line’s Merrick Station on the Babylon Branch of the Long Island Rail Road.
A children’s book about Roxey landed in the hands of Donald Lipski, a New York artist. When Lipski was later asked to create a sculpture for a renovated LIRR station, he suggested memorializing Roxie in a more public way.
The proposal gained traction but was revised to include a commemoration of another local hero, female aviation pioneer Bessica Raiche.
The approved design blended the two local notables, depicting Raiche in her flight suit and goggles, lifting Roxey aloft.
Lipski then turned to Collins, who he had met as a Philadelphia resident.
“He is an actual sculptor, like Michelangelo,” said Lipski of Collins. With Collins’ expertise, Lipski said the project advanced “… like it was like magic.”
The completed work was unveiled Mar. 1.
The full story of Roxey and his permanent spot in New York is at Trains.
The story of aviator Bessica Raiche.