The fu dogs stood regally outside the Met and used to greet visitors. But this was moving day.
Just as the Met's future was once up in the air, each five-thousand pound fu dog was secured and then lifted high into the sky to share air space with the birds.
The scene drew plenty of onlookers. Some of them, like Judy King of Fresno, were sad. King explained, "I think it's horrible. I think the fu dogs should be available for all the public to view. I don't think they should have been sold at all."
Last month Kristie Serimian of Selma bid $21-thousand dollars to buy the fu dogs. The museum put several items up for auction to pay off debts.
On Friday her brother Dennis Balakian was on hand to make sure a difficult move went smoothly.
Finding a suitable spot for the crane was a challenge. The alley was out because the crane would've blocked traffic. Family friend Clayton Cope said, "We couldn't put it on the grass of course because of all the compaction. The ground being wet, tire sinkage and outrigger sinking on the crane and then the basement that's underneath the cement so this was the only place we could pick them up from."
The fu dogs were donated by the Republic of China's National Museum back in 1984. Judy King understands why Serimian wanted to buy them but wishes the public could still enjoy the pair. King said, "It was a gift. It was donated to the city of Fresno to the museum and since the museum's closing I think they should be out at Woodward Park or somewhere."
Instead the fu dogs were off to storage, where they'll remain until the new owner decides where to display them.
The sale still faces a legal challenge. A Fresno attorney has asked the State Attorney General to stop the Met from selling off its art. He claims non-profits shouldn't be able to sell donated pieces.