It’s very strange to see the Statue of Liberty’s enormous hand and torch parked in front of the western side of Madison Square—a genteel, elite neighborhood at the end of the 19th century.
But it all came down to fund-raising, and Madison Square was where the money was.
The hand and torch were placed in the park from 1876 to 1882 to get enough donations from Americans to complete the pedestal (the statue itself was the financial responsibility of the French).
Cash was coming in slowly, so Joseph Pulitzer, editor of The World, stepped in.”Pulitzer used his newspaper to criticize both the rich who had failed to finance the pedestal construction and the middle class who were content to rely upon the wealthy to provide the funds,” reports this Statue of Liberty website.
“Pulitzer’s campaign of harsh criticism was successful in motivating the people of America to donate.”