ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Who knew that downtown Albuquerque’s Iron Man had such a following? After a car crash Monday knocked over the more than 10-foot-tall art piece, New Mexicans have continued to ‘memeify’ the statue online, even honoring the giant sculpture’s former footprint on Lomas.
Thursday, someone left a memorial at the corner of 4th and Lomas, in remembrance of the sculpture. Similar to an alter, someone left flowers, religious candles and a cross at the foot of a framed photo where the sculpture originally stood. An Iron Man action figure and another toy was also left behind at the memorial, on top of a bright yellow mat.
No one appeared to be seriously injured in the crash Monday. Albuquerque Police said the statue was knocked over during a crash where a truck turned in front of an oncoming City of Albuquerque Parks Management truck. No one was taken to the hospital for injuries.
The humor associated with the display has caught the attention of some online. Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis tweeted a photo of the memorial, saying it was “The most #Albuquerque thing” he’d seen Thursday.
Meanwhile, the statue has since been removed from its original location. The metal art’s plight has been central to a flood of Albuquerque-centric memes online, including commentary on Albuquerque drivers.
On Instagram, a self-described New Mexico government parody account posted a photo stating “New Mexico in statewide mourning period following tragic accident.” On Facebook, people have shared a poster of the Iron Man statue with wings and a message: “in loving memory of.”
The Iron Man statue sat on property owned by the Sunwest Silver Company. The business responded to the roadside memorial on Instragram Thursday with a message reading, “Iron Man down … Albuquerque up! We love you Albuquerque!”
Roadside memorials or descansos are common throughout New Mexico, honoring lives that have been lost. State law actually prohibits the destruction or desecration of roadside memorials that “memorialize the death of one or more persons” along public roads and right of ways in New Mexico. The crime is considered a petty misdemeanor, punishable with jail time or a fine.
In the case of Iron Man, the memorial appears to have been placed on private property, not a public right of way. New Mexico state law provides an exemption to allow memorials to be removed from private property.