Posts Tagged ‘New York City statues’

The offensive statue kicked out of a city park

February 25, 2013

To artist Frederick MacMonnies, it probably sounded like a crowd-pleaser.

Commissioned in 1915 by the city to create a sculpture for City Hall Park, he carved a 55-ton piece of marble into “Civic Virtue”: a figure of a strapping young man holding a sword while standing astride two beautiful women, who symbolized vice and corruption.

Civicvirtueincityhallpark

“It represents virtue rising or overcoming temptation,” said Macmonnies.

But even before the 22-foot statue was unveiled in the park in 1922, it was under fire. Women’s groups claimed it was demeaning to have virtue represented by a male figure, while women were equated with vice.

CivicvirtuecloseupMacMonnies found the argument ridiculous and blamed “literal” minded people who didn’t think allegorically. “Temptation is usually made feminine because only the feminine really attracts and tempts,” quoted the Times.

Mayor Hylan thought it was “a travesty of good taste,” but the statue went up anyway, earning the nickname “Rough Guy” because of his naked, chiseled, somewhat caveman-like features.

Throughout the 1920s, petitions were filed to have Civic Virtue removed, and in the 1930s, with City Hall Park set for a beautification project, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses stated that he wanted it gone.

By 1941, rumor had it that Mayor LaGuardia was tired of seeing Civic Virtue’s muscular butt from City Hall. The statue was banished to Queens Borough Hall, where it languished for seven decades.

Last year, Civic Virtue, falling apart and still lacking respect, found a new home: Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where officials plan to restore it.

[Photo at right: from the Bridge and Tunnel Club]

Who stole this Peter Pan statue from a city park?

November 22, 2012

You’d have to be pretty brazen (or very drunk?) to abduct a statue from a city park.

But there’s something extra heartless about making off with Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up.

It happened 14 years ago in Carl Schurz Park, along the East River. There, a bronze Peter Pan has held court in the middle of a garden since 1975.

One morning in August 1998, however, Peter Pan vanished. “The statue was made by Charles Andrew Hafner in 1928 and showed the slender youth in his distinctive feathered cap and belted tunic sitting on a tree stump with a fawn, a rabbit and a toad at his feet,” wrote The New York Times.

“It had been cut off its stone base and weighed about a thousand pounds, officials said.”

Dozens of police officers investigated—this is the park that’s home to Gracie Mansion, after all. The next day, a scuba team found it at the bottom of the East River.

After divers recovered the statue, Peter Pan went back up in his usual spot in the park, where he’s been enchanting visitors ever since.

So who did it? Though no suspect was ever identified, “investigators said the disappearance of the beloved statue from Carl Schurz Park appeared, appropriately enough, to be the work of a band of overly high-spirited youths, perhaps latter-day Lost Boys who turned on their own icon,” a follow-up Times article stated.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,615 other followers