I know it's been almost a year since I've seen some of my friends.

We are coming up on the 12-month mark since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered area schools and put New York "on pause." Multiple holidays, birthdays and other special occasions we'd be celebrating with friends has, by and large, happened solo this year.

Western New York seems to be reemerging though, given the recent news of summer traditions like the Taste of Buffalo and Allentown Art Festival putting their events on the official 2021 calendar, it seems we should be seeing our friends again sooner than later.

But there's one Western New York celeb you won't be sitting next to anytime soon, and it's because she's a "touchy subject."

Shark Girl, the immensely popular public art piece that usually resides at Buffalo's Waterfront, will be staying more than 6-feet away from folks for a while.

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"Due to Shark Girl being a high touch piece, we’re waiting until things calm down a bit before putting her back in her usual spot," said Albright-Knox Communications Director Andrew Mayer.

Because she's meant to have people interact, touch, sit next to, and take pictures with -- Shark Girl was headed into hiding pre-pandemic for some regularly scheduled "spa time" to restore the detail on her fiberglass body in 2019.

“Shark Girl is a beloved, whimsical year-round fixture at Canalside but needs some rejuvenation after flashing her toothy grin for so many selfies over the years,” said ECHDC Board Chairman Robert Gioia.

 

“ECHDC’s agreement with the Albright-Knox for the repair and maintenance of Shark Girl will allow her to better handle interactions with all her fans, as well as to stand up to harsh Buffalo winters, for years to come. That said, we can’t wait until she returns!”

Created by artist Casey Riordan in 2013, Shark Girl was one of the first works added to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's Public Art Initiative.

The museum's website describes the character as:

“..a blend of whimsy and alarm, half Lewis Carroll’s Alice, half great white shark.”

 

She was originally scheduled to come back in early 2020, but the COVID-19 outbreak kept her inside.

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