Now the arch is strong enough to support itself, as well as whatever we put on top of it.

Back in New York, I had to do something about material for bases and slab. One day, the kid from the Hudson quarry called and said he was bringing two almost perfect chunks of granite. However, after hauling a 130 lb and a 110 lb block up to my sixth-floor walkup, I discover that neither is complete in every dimension, and I cannot use them. I look in the yellow pages and start calling monument companies. A place in Ozone Park, Queens (Ottavino, 80-60 Pitkin Ave, 718-462-7448), claims to have a yardful of granite. Indeed this is a stonecutter's paradise: a little smaller than a football field, half of it covered with blocks of stone of various sizes and quality and half filled with industrial strength stoneworking machinery, including water saws running on overhead cranes with 3 foot diamond blades, all overseen by Stanley, the master stone craftsman from Poland. Stanley offered me the free pick of his scrap pile, but nothing there was suitable. I picked out a piece of granite exactly twice the size of one base and had Stanley cut it in half for my two bases. One surface was already finely polished and would serve to bear the lettering; another surface was flat and would be the bottom. The top surface was very rough and I would have to smooth it out. The boss of the operation, Mohammed, charged me $250, although if I had any business sense I am sure I could have negotiated him downward.

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