FAMOUS NYC MONUMENTS
New York City is packed with famous statues and monuments. From the celebrated Statue of Liberty National Monument to the unassuming statue of Balto in Central Park, New York’s monuments celebrate historical people, places, and ideals. Many of the monuments NYC has on display capture a unique moment in New York City’s history, and all are worth exploring.
STATUE OF LIBERTY
It is almost impossible to think of New York monuments and not think of the Statue of Liberty. Standing 305 feet (and one inch) tall out in New York Harbour, the Statue of Liberty has been a symbol of freedom and hope since 1886.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from the people of France. Frenchman Éduoard René de Laboulaye wanted to celebrate the success of democracy in the United States and came up with the idea of giving the country a gift. He selected Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi to design the copper, steel, cast iron, and gold statue.
Bartholdi had dreamed of designing a giant statue for years and was thrilled with this opportunity. His “Liberty Enlightening the World” is held up with a metal structure created by Gustave Eiffel. Gustave Eiffel would later become known for the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
The Statue of Liberty was unveiled on October 28, 1886, to much pomp and circumstance. This New York monument greatly excited the city and as a celebration, the Big Apple held a giant parade! This parade started from Battery Park, the southern tip of Manhattan Island, and marched north up Broadway. Quite spontaneously, parade attendees watching from the tall buildings on either side of Broadway started dropping torn ticker tape down on the revelers below. This created a confetti-like effect to the delight of all and thus, the tradition of “ticker tape” parades was born.
STATUES IN NYC PARKS
New York City has over 600 parks, and almost every single one of them has at least one statue. The most famous of these parks is Manhattan’s Central Park and these world-renowned grounds are home to over 70 statues!
Perhaps the most recognizable of all the statues in NYC parks is the Bethesda Terrace’s Angel of the Waters. This New York monument was erected in 1873 and has since been featured in movies and television(opens in a new tab) shows such as Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Avengers, Enchanted, and Gossip Girl.
For much of Central Park’s history, all of the historical monuments only celebrated male figures. This changed in 2020 with the unveiling of the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument. This New York monument depicts Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It is the newest monument to be added to Central Park since 1965 and commemorates the centennial of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote in all 50 states.
Of all the statues in NYC parks, it is the statue of Balto that kids love most. Balto was a Siberian Husky sled dog who braved a massive blizzard in Nome, Alaska, to bring lifesaving diphtheria antitoxin to the residents combating the disease. In 1995, Universal Studios released an animated film (simply called Balto) based on his heroism. The statue celebrating this heroic husky stands near the Central Park Zoo, which is also one of the best places to go with kids in NYC(opens in a new tab).
The famous Rockefeller Center is full of remarkable New York monuments and statues. Visitors always gasp when they see Atlas, the enormous bronze statue standing directly across from the historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The statue stands a towering 45 feet in the sky and depicts the Greek Titan Atlas holding up the heavens on his very broad shoulders. Of all the monuments NYC has to offer, this may be the best example of the Art Deco and objectivist movements. The statue has been featured on television shows such as 30 Rock and has been associated with the Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged.
Every turn of Rockefeller Center has artwork for visitors to explore. Much of this art tells the story of New York City just before, during, and just after the Great Depression. The Rockefeller Center is a truly fascinating place to explore, and the best way is by booking a tour.(opens in a new tab) After the tour, visit the Top of the Rock(opens in a new tab) and get a bird’s eye view of New York City.