Widow seeks new home for husband’s massive replica of NYC skyline

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The opiate epidemic and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are seemingly two unrelated tragedies.

But the two events converged on the life of a Howell Township man who found himself driven by dual tragedies to create a collection of sculptures that now needs a new home.

The massive collection of sculptures, which resembles the New York City skyline, now sits in Nora Tikkanen’s basement. It was made, piece by piece by her late husband Ed Tikkanen in the years between the 2001 attacks and his death in 2016.

“Sometimes now when I really look, I look back here and I go, ‘Oh my God. It doesn’t stop,” Nora says.

Ed worked for 30 years as a first mate for Moran Tugboats on the New York Harbor. He said that the Manhattan skyline was his constant companion. He would often bring home driftwood, tin cans, debris or whatever else he found and make things like lamps or model tugboats.

“Everything had to be free,” says Nora.

The Tikkanens’ daughter Deborah died of a prescription drug overdose in August 2001. Two weeks later the Sept. 11 terror attacks happened.

Nora says that the two tragedies inspired her husband, a Brooklyn native, to begin this colossal project as a tribute to the city of his birth.

“I said ‘When is it going to stop?’ And he kept making and making,” Nora says.

Nora is selling her home now, in an effort to downsize. She says that her husband’s project now needs a new home. She says that she is willing to sell or donate them – just as long as they find a new home with people who will appreciate them.

Nora says that she is hoping that the sculptures can be donated to a firehouse or similar organization.

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