Roscoe Conkling, isn’t that a great name? Conkling was a New York political fixture in the late 19th century, first as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives and then later a member of the U.S. Senate. He was pro-Lincoln and pro-Grant in a city quite hostile to the Civil War.
Mr. Conkling’s statue sits at the southeastern corner of Madison Square Park. There’s significance for this: During the Blizzard of 1888, he decided to walk from his Wall Street office to his home on 24th Street. At Union Square, he fell in a snow drift, became ill, and died five weeks later.
His family asked the Parks Department to place the statue near where he fell in Union Square, but he wasn’t deemed important enough. Madison Square Park must have been for B-list New Yorkers.