- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 31, 2006

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. (AP) — The Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane returned to Sleepy Hollow for Halloween, and this time they won’t disappear afterward into the mists of legend.

Just in time to frighten young trick-or-treaters, an 18-foot-high steel sculpture of the Horseman and his gangly patsy was erected yesterday alongside Route 9, not far from the grave of Washington Irving, author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

A cheer rose from a crowd of about 50 as the rust-colored structure was lowered into place. Two small dogs in pumpkin costumes joined the celebration.

“This is so exciting,” said Elena Malunis, chairwoman of the committee that brought the monument to Sleepy Hollow. “I drive down Route 9 every day, and I’ve been imagining what it would look like.”

The sculpture, like the 1819 short story, depicts the mild-mannered Crane riding for his life on old Gunpowder, closely followed by the decapitated Horseman, who is about to throw his head — or is it just a leering jack-o’-lantern? — at the terrorized schoolteacher.

Residents hope the 11-ton sculpture becomes a magnet for history and literature buffs. Ten years ago, after a General Motors plant closed, the same motive prompted residents to change the name of the village from the pedestrian North Tarrytown to the more tourist-friendly Sleepy Hollow.

“It’s really redeeming our past,” said Mayor Philip Zegarelli, who proposed the sculpture. “Here is this marvelous adventure, rooted in our history, that has been here all this time and has been written about and known worldwide. Now we are essentially recapturing our heritage.”

The location of the monument in Sleepy Hollow, on the Hudson River about 10 miles north of New York City, corresponds to the setting of the climax of Irving’s tale. The Old Dutch Church and the Pocantico River, named in the story, are nearby. Irving, who died in 1859, is buried up the road at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

The $175,000 cost was covered mostly with private donations and a state grant, the mayor said, and further contributions are expected to cut the village’s expense to zero.

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