We live in divided, uncertain and chaotic times, so perhaps it’s not surprising that people seem to be looking to the utopian future of Star Trek right now. There are multiple ongoing shows, politicians are discussing Trek minutia and just a few weeks ago, Captain Janeway’s (future) hometown erected a statue of her. Now, there’s a chance that Boston might follow suit with a statue to honor Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy.
Nimoy was born and raised in the West End Jewish community of Boston, attended Boston College and visited the city regularly. His memory lingers long there, you can hear his narration in the Boston Museum of Science and Leonard Nimoy Day is celebrated every November 13th. In 2012, Boston University even awarded him an honorary degree and the actor gave a commencement address where he talked about the importance of his roots, saying:
“My folks came to the United States as immigrants, aliens, and they became citizens. I was born in Boston a citizen; I went to Hollywood, and I became an alien. Spock called for exactly the kind of work I was prepared to do. He was a character with a rich and dynamic inner life – half human, half Vulcan. He was the embodiment of the outsider, like the immigrants who surrounded me in my early years. How do you find your way as the alien in a foreign culture? Where does your identity and dignity come from? And how do you make a contribution?”
Now, artist Thomas Stocker has plans for a fitting memorial in the form of a statue of his famous Vulcan salute (which Nimoy came up with himself). Stocker explained he was inspired by 2014 documentary Leonard Nimoy’s Boston, saying:
“He really loved the city of Boston, his hometown, and he kept coming back here for charitable work. That documentary really showed his love for the city and I thought he really should be acknowledged. … People still talk about him as a local boy who made good. His father was a barber. It’s a great hometown story. The message of ‘live long and prosper’ and the hand gesture is from another planet and is this universal gesture of goodwill.”
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The project is currently in the planning stage, though it seems to have popular support and Stocker is in the process of securing funding for the statue, which he estimates could be put up for about $250,000. Plans are to approach major philanthropic donors and also conduct a grassroots campaign. Surely there have to be enough diehard Trekkies out there to make this thing a reality, right?
Nimoy’s daughter Julie believes that her father would have been extremely touched by the project, saying:
“If my dad were here today and this was happening, he would be very excited about it. He loved Boston, and he loved growing up in the West End of Boston.”
Here’s hoping that one day the Star Trek message of goodwill, unity and “live long and prosper” brightens the day of those living in and visiting Boston’s West End. Personally, I can’t wait to see it.