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The Blob: 'Quiet presence' on Bank Street hits the road

New London - The Blob is gone. But it will not be forgotten.

The 12-foot abstract sculpture made of dripping, orange urethane foam was removed from 46 Bank St. Tuesday, as rubberneckers slowed traffic, children cried and adults sang.

Artist Jesse Good, with an entourage of family and friends, took down the sculpture at the urging of the city's downtown development coordinator, who thought The Blob might hurt the city's chances to find a tenant for the vacant two-story building.

The artwork was part of a 2008 city initiative that allowed local artists to put their work in - or in Good's case, on - empty storefront buildings.

About 70 students from the Dual Language Arts Academy, dressed in black and playing drums and horns, walked in a funeral procession down Bank Street from their school. Some had helped Good put up the sculpture nearly two years ago.

In a performance-art exhibition, the middle school students carried paper candles, read eulogies quoting Shakespeare and comforted one another with hugs.

When it started to rain, the crowd sobbed. "It's tears for The Blob,'' a student cried out.

And, as it did from the moment it appeared to seemingly drip off the flat roof of the vacant upholstery store, The Blob generated discussion on Tuesday.

The owner of nearby Muddy Waters Cafe, who admittedly never liked the sculpture, stood on the stoop of his cafe watching the "funeral."

"Do you believe this?'' Barry Neistat said. "Well, at least it's coming down.''

The students called The Blob "colorful" and "special."

"It had a quiet presence hanging around Bank Street,'' Rhaea James read from a eulogy written by Brooke Trahan, who was too emotional to speak.

"We may not all like it," James said afterward. "But we were part of it and it was part of our familia."

Mirna Martinez, a teacher at the Dual Language Arts Academy who organized the outing and is the wife of the artist, "fainted."

Daneen Roth entered Muddy Waters singing her own version of an old Everly Brothers tune: Bye-bye, Blob. Hello happiness. I think I'm going to cry.

"You have to keep your sense of humor,'' she said. "Every time I drove by it, I would think I wanted a pizza.''

A man in a pickup truck slowed down and yelled "Save The Blob!''

"I'll miss seeing it,'' said Don O'Neill of O'Neill's Brass Rail, the bar on the other side of The Blob. "It was more of a tourist thing. They always wanted to know about it.''

Good said he was sad to see the sculpture come down, but he was optimistic it would find a new home.

To that end, Frank McLaughlin, the city's downtown development coordinator who made arrangements for the installation to come down, seemed a little shocked at the students' mock funeral.

"It's not dying,'' he laughed. "It's moving."

John Russell, the owner of Homeward Bound Treasures on Golden Street, offered up the side of his building to give The Blob a reprieve. But he wasn't ready for immediate installation.

So, much like the city's Nathan Hale Schoolhouse, which has moved half a dozen times, The Blob was moved three times Tuesday before coming to rest at the Hygienic Art Park.

The triangle of orange foam was carried from across Bank Street and up Golden Street to the side of Homeward Bound. But then it was taken back up Golden Street to a gated parking lot owned by McLaughlin. Unable to ensure the work's safety, it was carted back onto Golden and around the corner to the Hygienic art park on Bank Street.

"This is turning into a parade,'' someone shouted to Good and his entourage, which included his mother, father, brother and various Blob aficionados.

"Jesse, can you sign my Blob piece,'' asked Janelle Sanchez, a friend of the artist who lives downtown, after picking up a piece of foam that had fallen on the sidewalk. "It's Blob shrapnel,'' she said.

Good said he's thinking of repainting the work before it finds a new home.

"Maybe silver,'' he said. "It's a new life."


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