High Art

A pair of presidential portraits grace this Valley structure



franklin and eleanor roosevelt portraitsDo you know this Hudson Valley landmark?

Photograph by Kelly Marsh

Where in the Hudson Valley...?

We admit that catching a glimpse of these painted portraits of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt isn’t all that easy. Your vision has to be focused not on the roadway in front of you, but about 15 feet above the ground, at the top of a heavy stone abutment that supports one of the mid-Valley’s busiest thoroughfares. Maybe not quite as dangerous as texting while driving, but close.

These prominent likenesses of the Valley’s own First Family — located not all that far away from their Hyde Park home — came about in a haphazard way. In 2002, one Brandon Miller — a student intern working with the state agency in charge of said busy thoroughfare — proposed the idea of painting the silhouettes of FDR and Eleanor on the windows of the abutment. His superiors apparently liked the idea, so Miller’s coal-black paintings adorned the glass — until 2006. At that point, Miller — no longer a student — returned to the site, and spent about three weeks perched in the bucket of a cherry picker, creating the full portraits that grace the roadway today.

The “presence” of the Roosevelts on this particular stretch of roadway, though, is attributable to more than just chance. Although it’s been in existence since 1930, the stretch of asphalt that carries you past the portraits was named (or, technically, renamed) after FDR in 1994.
Now do you know where these presidential pictures are? If you think you do, send us your answer as a comment in the box below. The first reader who gets it right wins a prize. Good luck!

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