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‘Shark Girl’ is back, looking better than ever

Jack Caldiero was driving down the south end of Pearl Street Tuesday evening when something caused him to turn his car around and make a quick stop at Canalside.

“Shark Girl has moved!” is the message he sent to his daughter a couple minutes later, along with a photo of the waterfront’s famous statue in her new location.

Shark Girl was removed from her first Buffalo home earlier this year, a little worse for wear after spending the bitter winter frozen in place a few steps from the ice-filled Buffalo River, whipped by winds from across the lake.

Now, she’s back. Her brief vacation, which included some minor conservation work, has done her good. Her blue dress is brightly polished and her thick gray snout practically gleams.

“I don’t remember her shoes being that sparkly,” Caldiero pointed out.

It was the second time he had seen the statue up close. He said he and his daughter came down to check out the artwork by Casey Riordan Millard when it was installed last summer near the concert location and hamburger stand on the other side of the Skyway. That area had a lot of pedestrian traffic, but nearby trees kept the statue a little shade-covered, and when the weather changed, Shark Girl was left pretty much alone.

Caldiero was surprised on Tuesday to see where she landed.

Shark Girl’s new home is in a sunny spot on a footbridge at the historic Commercial Slip, overlooking the intersection of Perry and Pearl streets.

“I though they were going to put her over in the center. I think this is a good spot, everyone can see her from the street,” Caldiero said.

“I am really excited about Shark Girl’s new location at Canalside, where her legions of adoring fans can visit her all year long,” Albright-Knox public art curator Aaron Ott said earlier in the day. “Let the selfies continue!”

Caldiero held out the photo he had sent along to his daughter and said, “Look at that. It’s a great background, the bridges, the new buildings. She looks good here.”