Easter Island on the HudsonTed Ludwiczak (1926 - 2016)
14 Riverside Ave., Haverstraw, New York, 10927, United States
Portions of the environment are visible from the street.
About the Artist/Site
After a dynamic youth spent traveling the world and living abroad, Ted Ludwiczak filled his post-retirement days in a tranquil New York town with an excitement of his own making – the creation of an enormous installation of found rocks he carved with unique faces and expressions that surrounded his home called Easter Island on the Hudson.
Ludwiczak was born in Poland in 1926 and received an excellent education. A summer job on a cargo ship while in college led to him visiting India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Coast. He spent some time in Rome leading tours in German after a group of Poles he met while there on shore-leave encouraged him to stay. Family members who had immigrated to New York attempted to coax him to join them; however, when he went to the embassy for his visa for the U.S., he was offered a job in Germany with the U.S. Army due to his excellent language skills. He decided to remain in Europe, moving to Frankfort for five years for this position (eventually rising to honorary Master Sergeant). In 1956, he finally made the move to New York City.
Once in the U.S., he started a business grinding contact lenses, which he continued to do until his retirement in 1986. It was two years later that he saw the potential in carving a different material – stones found near his riverside property. The initial impulse to create in 1988 came when he saw his drab retaining wall from the river: “It looked bare, called out for something. Then I noticed a rock on the beach and saw a face in it. I could see eyes, maybe a mouth. I picked up a lawn mower blade I had been using to work on the wall and started carving. The face became clearer as I worked. When I finished, I cemented it in the wall. He looked a little lonely. So I made another one and then a whole family. I haven't stopped yet,” said Ludwiczak.
Ludwiczak went on to reveal hundreds of faces – in all sizes and shapes and with every manner of expression – in the stones he harvested from near his property. Some of Ludwiczak’s sculptures were sold through a New York gallery and appear to be popular with collectors. (A 2021 Outsider Art Fair special exhibition curated by Takashi Murakami and called “Super-Rough” featured Ludwiczak’s “Granite Triple Head.”) However, the majority of the stones were installed on his property, forming a dense (and hopefully permanent) community ready to welcome visitors and passersby. As Ludwiczak once said about searching for his stone canvases, "Sometimes the rocks talk: 'Here I am. I'm ready for you,’”
Ludwiczak passed away in 2016 at the age of 90. His son lives in the house, and the environment remains undisturbed. Portions of the environment are visible from the street, or, of course, from the Hudson River.
– Annalise Flynn, 2023
Map & Site Information
14 Riverside Ave.
Haverstraw, New York, 10927 us
Latitude/Longitude: 41.1800619 / -73.9470705
West New York, New Jersey
New York, New York
Weehawken, New Jersey
New York, New York