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Rejected Proposals for Treasure Island Monuments

Wednesday, Aug 1 2001
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Recently, Mayor Willie Brown and many other dignitaries attended an unveiling for a proposed new monument for the city of San Francisco. The $115 million project would be "a 24-story combination museum and giant replica of the Statue of Liberty's arm that would sit smack dab in the middle of Treasure Island and light up the night," according to an item by Matier & Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle. "I've always loved the Statue of Liberty, as have most people who have come to America," the monument's creator, PUC board member Dennis Normandy, was quoted as saying. "But we didn't want to duplicate it, so we took the best part -- the arm, which is victorious, warm, and enlightens."

Since then, SF Weekly has learned that several other ideas were also considered for the Treasure Island site before city leaders settled on Liberty's detached right arm.


A monument honoring one of San Francisco's best-known cultural ambassadors -- the recently canceled TV cop drama Nash Bridges -- would feature a giant replica of the yellow sports car driven by the title character. The massive car, 20 times normal size, would be placed smack dab in the middle of Treasure Island, rotating as its headlights, beaconlike, lit up the evening sky. "I've always loved Nash Bridges," says the show's star, Don Johnson. "But we didn't want to duplicate it, so we took the best part -- the kick-ass San Francisco chase scenes."

To honor what Mayor Willie Brown called "the one thing that makes the Bay Area such an attractive place to live," a proposal announced yesterday would construct a museum and 20-story statue of a San Francisco tourist. Constructed out of bronze, the statue would feature a tourist sporting a Polar Tec fleece jacket, shorts, sandals, a Moscone Center convention badge, and a fanny pack. He would have one arm raised holding a credit card, made of platinum, which would shine in the daytime and be illuminated at night. "This celebrates San Francisco's Number 1 industry and its contributions to the city," said Mayor Brown. "Cheap gewgaws, overpriced seafood, and hotel-tax revenue."

A proposal unveiled last week would honor a main driving force behind the Bay Area economy: the venture capitalist. Slated to tower, Colossus-like, above Treasure Island at 150 feet, the bronze statue would show a VC standing arms akimbo, dressed in a Polo shirt and chinos. His belt would be an LCD stock ticker, circling the statue's waist and visible around the bay.

A group of developers has recently announced a proposed can't-miss-it statue that would command the center of Treasure Island. The proposed concept, at an estimated cost of $180 million to build, would present a middle-aged Marin resident: Bespectacled and wearing a caftan, she would stand with both hands raised triumphantly, one hand clutching a copy of a Pottery Barn catalog, the other the New York Review of Books. At night, the statue would be lit with floodlights powered by

Marin's collective sense of self-satisfaction.

A new proposal would celebrate the Bay Area's unique place in the world with a 20-story marble replica of the Pets.com sock puppet. The statue of the familiar mascot for the now-defunct online pet retailer would hoist its microphone in the air to memorialize, according to a spokesperson, "the two things that have made the Bay Area so special, from the Gold Rush to the dot-com boom: greed and hubris."

To celebrate the special role that San Francisco has played in world literature, a new proposal would construct a statue of Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac, to be placed in the center of Treasure Island. One hand holding a copy of On the Road and the other clenching a bottle of cheap whiskey high in the air, the statue "memorializes the Bay Area's infinite capacity to never get over itself, to never let go of its former glories," according to a spokesperson from City Lights Bookstore.

A proposal submitted yesterday would honor Giants slugger Barry Bonds with two massive statues to be placed in the center of Treasure Island. Thirty stories high and constructed out of solid granite, the first statue would present Bonds in the midst of one of his famous home-run swings. During pennant races and playoff games, however, the statue would be replaced with a second statue of Bonds arguing with an umpire after another called third strike. At night, the statues would be lit with floodlights powered by Bonds' ego, as well as hype generated by Scott Boras, Bonds' agent.

A new proposal currently on the table would honor one of San Francisco's most familiar and powerful personas: the political player. Constructed out of solid iron, it would show an official sitting at a desk, speaking on the phone to political allies as one clenched fist hangs in the air to represent what a spokesperson called "the government functionary's righteous indignation, his insatiable capacity to generate foolhardy ideas, and the clout which allows him to inflict them on an unwitting populace."

About The Author

Mark Athitakis

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