You are reading

Missing Transformer returned to artist, LIC restaurateur Shih Lee had it



Oct. 20, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan

A Transformer-themed sculpture that went missing has been returned to the artist after a well-known restaurant owner who took it discovered that it had an owner who was looking for it.

Annalisa Iadicicco, an artist based in Long Island City, said that her Transformer sculpture had been on display outside of her Jackson Avenue studio at the end of August when it was stolen.

She went to several local news outlets last week in her quest to find the missing artwork. The police had ruled that it was likely an accidental trash pickup.

But the piece was taken by Shih Lee, owner of Shi Restaurant, who said he saw it lying on the sidewalk at night and decided that it would be a good fit for his new Japanese restaurant.

He said that he thought it had been abandoned since it was left on the sidewalk.

Iadicicco claimed in news report that the piece was on a chain, something that Lee denies.

Lee said, jokingly, that he doesn’t go around the neighborhood loading up vans with stolen goods. He said the whole thing was a big error and that it should not be blown out of proportion.

“It was out there in the street after 9:30 p.m. and it looked abandoned, I had no idea it was her studio,” Lee said.

He added that he plans on decorating his new Japanese restaurant with local art, and it seems like a “missed opportunity” if they don’t work together to display the transformer in his venue.

“I support local artists, and what I’m trying to do with new restaurant is showcase local artists,” Lee said.

Iadicicco has posted photos on Facebook showing that the sculpture was damaged upon return. Lee said that while there may have been a small amount of damage, he did not want to speak to how much money in damages Iadicicco was seeking.

She initially made the sculpture as part of a workshop in collaboration with LIC art studio Local Project and No Longer Empty, an organization that works with abandoned objects to create art.

The sculpture stands about six feet tall and was made out of car bumpers, plastic and cloth, and resembled the head of a Transformer.

“Everybody was taking pictures of it and walking by it,” Iadicicco told the Queens Courier, which first reported on the missing sculpture. “It brought joy to people. Everybody recognized the Transformer face. I would never think that somebody would pick it up and take it.”

Iadicicco did not return multiple requests for comment.

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 

Shih is the worst part of the LIC neighborhood. Attracts a trashy and rowdy crowd and serves horrible food.

roger datie

This is ridiculous,.. Shi Lee is very successful and I doubt he really would steal anything in his own neighborhood . Between his restaurants and his roles in the HangOver movies he def made a killing,…


The FAKE MRLIC wrote the October 22, 7:49 p.m. post. He won’t give up even though he said he would post under another name.


Regardless of the artistic merit of the piece, if you don’t want your stuff stolen, don’t leave it on the sidewalk overnight.


My son is crazy about Rescue Bots and Transformers. I just showed him this picture and said look… he said it looks like a pile of halloween costumes. I said are you sure, does it look familiar and he said, it is a ninja. Then I said, does it look like a transformer? He looked and said no.


Hopefully someone steals the $500k pink sculpture next. Then these HIPSTERS will learn that the sidewalk is not their personal storage space for the garbage they created getting half an art degree.


A-Ha!! Given the fact that there aren’t any people on earth who enjoy Shih’s restaurants, all thumbs down must logically be the work of Shih clearing his cache!


The FAKE MRLIC wrote about he and Shih Lee cutting the chain of the Transformer on October 20, 8:25 pm. I guess he still wants to post as me. The Real MRLIC.

Average Person

Honestly that sculpture does not look like artwork from first glance. I could easily see how Shih mistook it for something abandoned.


He thought the sculpture was nice enough for his restaurant, so I’m not buying the story about it being a piece of trash he picked off the street. Regardless, now he knows who owns it, so be prove how much you “support local artists” and pay the lady!


Art or not, one should not be leaving stuff on the street overnight and certainly should not be surprised if, well, trash, get mistaken and taken as trash.


He didn’t think it was just trash. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have gone through the bother of taking it and planning to put it in his restaurant.


Well…some say he was really drunk at his initial appraisal of this piece and there’s no telling what he thought about it after he sobered up. Let’s the honest, it’s not The Pietà.


“Trash doesn’t always mean it useless junk sometimes it’s just unwanted useful items”


Agree with Anon. Makes perfect sense.
All previous comments are ridiculous, and you should all be ashamed of yourselves.


If Shih likes the sculpture and thinks it will look great in his restaurant, then why not just buy it from the artist? That would be the smart way to resolve this instead of generating bad publicity.


Christian, this site is getting ridiculous with some one taking over the names of others who post. I have used OAR because it is my initials. I used to use my name but got tired of being attacked online. The above comment was not made by me and I have to say that I have stayed away from this site because of this. Come on, moderate !!!!! I’m sure that the same jerk who decided to Hijack the MRLIC moniker has decided to do the same with mine. My email address is required when I write a comment so how is it that someone else can use the same name with a different email address. It really distresses me that someone makes a comment that gets attributed to me and I know I didn’t write it.


I don’t know if it was chained or if he was drunk but I do know that if one were to squint, there is a Transformer resemblance, to that pile of junk, and everyone knows what happens when junk is on the sidewalk in NYC. People take it. Look at the bag with the pressure cooker in it. Those guys actually took a bomb out of a bag and stole the bag!


If you sold that Transformer thing, I’ll bet you can make enough money to feed your kids chicken fingers for the rest of their lives.


Shih Lee is a personal friend of mine. If he says he didn’t cut the chain and take it, it’s true. The night we drove the truck back to the site to pick it up we were crazy drunk. I know there was a cable that was hung up but shih had a cutters. He is a good man and that artist doesn’t deserve the attention that this had brought her. If it wasn’t for shih, lic would rot.


Wow…you just told all of LIC (and also city officials and police officers) that you and Mr. Lee were “crazy drunk the night we drove the truck back to the site to pick it up”. I hope you both have excellent legal representation.


Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Gunman who fired shots at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City remains at large: NYPD

Police from the 114th Precinct in Astoria and PSA 9 are continuing their search for a gunman who allegedly opened fire at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City last month.

The incident occurred during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 18, when officers responded to a 911 call and a ShotSpotter activation for multiple shots fired at 21-25 35 Ave. at the Ravenswood Houses NYCHA complex just after 2 a.m., according to authorities.

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.