Artist Faces Wreckage of Sandy Ship at South Street Seaport

Artist Matthew Long arrived at Manhattan's South Street Seaport on Saturday morning to find his creation partially demolished and covered in boot prints

Saturday, Jun 16, 2012  |  Updated 6:17 PM EDT
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Artist Matthew Long, who's building a sand sculpture of a tall ship at South Street Seaport out of 23 tons of sand, says it was devastating to find his creation demolished by someone overnight.

NBC New York

Artist Matthew Long, who's building a sand sculpture of a tall ship at South Street Seaport out of 23 tons of sand, says it was devastating to find his creation demolished by someone overnight.

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Artist Matthew Long spent days carving 23 tons of sand into a sculpture of a tall ship to display on New York City's waterfront.

Then, in seconds, it suffered the fate of sand castles everywhere.

Long, a 57-year-old sand sculptor, arrived at Manhattan's South Street Seaport on Saturday morning to find his creation partially demolished and covered in boot prints, "about a size nine."

"There were footprints all over the sand, and I was cursing under my breath," he said. "It was devastating — such a hard, sinking feeling after days of carving in the hot sun."

Laughing at his own cheesy humor, the Staten Island resident added, "It took the wind out of my sails."

He said he'd worried about leaving his work sitting outside on a Friday night near the bars in the district, but hoped a guard patrolling the area would keep it safe.

On Saturday, Long was trying to reconstruct his vandalized creation — a promotion for his line of sand sculpting tools, and for an exhibit at a nearby museum. "I'm trying to get my mind back into the groove."

The effort started Wednesday, when a truck hauled the tons of sand from the New Jersey shore to lower Manhattan.

His mammoth tall ship, surrounded by sandy renderings of lower Manhattan buildings, was coming to life again by Saturday afternoon.

"I know I'm going to pull it off," said Long, whose work worldwide has been featured on television's "Travel Channel."

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