Officials OK controversial 'Virgin Mother' statue in Old Westbury

Some residents say the nude pregnant woman is too graphic and too offensive. (7/7/14)

OLD WESTBURY - Village officials approved a controversial piece of art Monday night in Old Westbury.

The 33-foot tall bronze "Virgin Mother" statue sits on an estate on Orchard Lane. Some residents say the nude pregnant woman is too graphic and too offensive.

Real estate mogul Aby Rosen installed the statue on his estate, but it led to a dispute between Rosen and some of his neighbors. They complained that Rosen put the statue there without a permit or planning board approval.

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After two months of debate, the planning board decided that the statue can stay in the neighborhood, but it cannot be lit at night. Rosen's attorney Peter MacKinnon says that Rosen has also agreed to plant more than 200 tall trees to make the sculpture less visible to neighbors.

Rosen will also move the statue farther away from the property line and rotate it.

The statue is approved to stay, but future statues of its size may not be allowed. The case sparked so much outcry that the Board of Trustees is considering a new law prohibiting statues taller than 25 feet in height.

The Board of Trustees is expected to vote on that proposal next month.

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