Alec Mackie stands in the small brick-lined alley beside Pohl & King Monument Co., motioning to the driver of the flatbed truck to keep backing in, slowly, all the way to the garagelike studio. The truck bears the name Weiss Monument, and it has come from Belleville, Ill., carrying a 5,000-pound block of granite for Mackie to sculpt. Philip Weiss shuts off the truck, throws the emergency brake back as tight as it will go and joins Mackie on the cargo bed for a look-see at the stone, resting staidly on a mound of gravel. The block sits on two thick canvas slings that Mackie attaches to a movable overhead pulley securely mounted to a girder. Mackie starts pulling the chain that should lift the stone from its bed, but there is some catch down below, and the extrication process ends up taking a half-hour. Finally the block is free from the bed, and Weiss pulls the truck forward, leaving the stone suspended in midair -- a rather amazing sight. Mackie lowers it carefully onto a heavy-duty wheeled wooden cart where he... More >>>