Did you know that the New York City Parks Department has a full-time blacksmith shop that operates on 86th street? And that it still employs smiths to make things like fenceposts, lanterns, keys, and other sundry metal items? Both are true, and if it’s always been your dream to use an anvil in a professional capacity, you’re in luck.
The Parks Department is looking for a blacksmith, with a yearly salary to the tune of $100,725. Renowned Central Park ‘smith Larry Hagberg, a Bushwick native who occupied the position since 1984, retired in July, DNAInfo reports, which is why the city put up a listing. Hagberg, 61, led a small team of blacksmiths in the city workshop, so the job would really be managerial blacksmith. Who wouldn’t want that one their resume?
Hagberg got into blacksmithing after working as a horse-shoer at a ranch when he was 16. As the city blacksmith, he became a cult figure of sorts. In an interview he gave to the Airship Daily, Hagberg explained that blacksmithing was in decline until an artistic resurgence in the 1980s. Nowadays those interested in the craft sign up for a class rather than going through a long apprenticeship process. But blacksmithing remains an important skill:
I have a piece of fence there that’s over a hundred years old. Who’s going to fix that? Only a blacksmith. You can get a welder that can make something that’ll look pretty good, but it won’t be the same. That thing has mortise and tenons, it’s not welded together in any way. They brought in a cannon caisson from the Revolutionary War, and after we fixed it, the guy that brought it in didn’t know where it was fixed.
If [the parks department] goes on the outside to get a job done, and they send guys out that they hire, its going to cost twice as much. It works out cheaper because we have no equipment, we do it the old way. … You need a new punch machine, its going to cost $30,000 to $40,000 — that’s a half a year’s pay. But you got some guy knows how to do it, you got $200 worth of coal, $50 worth of iron, you can do a $5,000 job.
Sound economic sense, there. Plus your business cards will look awesome.