The Pilgrim statue standing alone in Central Park

Central Park has 29 statues, some popular (like Balto, the hero sled dog) and others more obscure (Fitz-Greene Halleck, anyone?)

But standing high and alone on eponymously named Pilgrim Hill is a statue of a Pilgrim, one of the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 from England seeking religious freedom in the New World.

“An early American settler stands confidently with one hand leaning on the muzzle of a flintlock musket,” writes, describing the statue. “On the pedestal beneath him are four bas reliefs referencing the era—including the Mayflower—as well as an inscription: “To commemorate the Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers on Plymouth Rock: December 21, 1620.”

The bronze statue, by John Quincy Adams Ward, was commissioned and dedicated here in July 1885 by the New England Society to mark the group’s 75th anniversary, according to NYC Parks. (A procession heading to the site passed President Grant’s house on East 66th Street, and an ill Grant saluted from his window, newspaper accounts noted.)

Whatever one thinks about early settlers to America these days, it’s worth noting that this year marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims.

With Thanksgiving days away, consider heading over the Pilgrim Hill and seeing this mostly forgotten figure. The bas reliefs of the Mayflower and other symbols tell more of the Pilgrims’ story.

[Top photo:]

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14 Responses to “The Pilgrim statue standing alone in Central Park”

  1. Benjamin P. Feldman Says:

    On Fitz-Greene Halleck!:

  2. ironrailsironweights Says:

    Had the dedication ceremony been just a week later Grant wouldn’t have saluted the procession. Dying of throat cancer, and left nearly broke by bad investments, he was working feverishly to complete his memoirs in order to leave some money for his wife. Days later he movoed to a cottage near Saratoga Springs, in the hopes it would provide a better working environment. He died within six weeks, three days after completing his book.


    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      Thanks Peter, yes, this was in Grant’s very last days…and will make a good future Ephemeral New York post.

  3. Greg Says:

    Strange name, Fitz-Greene.

  4. sheryl Says:

    Its time to change the inscription. I am sure there were women about the boat..

  5. petlover1948 Says:

    Mark Twain helped finance Grant’s memoirs; & they were another reason that Mark Twain had financial problems

  6. The "Staten Island is a Problem" Tuesday Edition for The Briefly Says:

    […] Central Park’s Pilgrim Hill stands a statue “to commemorate the landing of the Pilgrim fathers on Plymouth Rock.” On the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing, how appropriate that we’re […]

  7. Tom B Says:

    I like the last 2 paragraphs of this posted entry. EphemeralNY keeping it real with the past and present.

  8. wolfonriverside Says:


      Born in Connecticut andmoving with his family to New York in 1811, Fitz-Greene Halleck (1790-1867) wrote,along with Joseph Rodman Drake, “The Croakers,” a series of local satires for New York Evening Post,and his 1819 poem “Fanny” was a satire of New York society. He edited both TheWorks of Byron in Prose and Verse (1833) and Selection of British Poets(1840), served as vice-president of Authors Club of New York (WashingtonIrving, president). Known as the Knickerbocker Poet and according to WilliamCullen Bryant “the favorite poet of the city of New York,” he had a Bronxstreet named after him, and there is a statue of him along Literary Mall inCentral Park.



      There’s a barrel of porter at Tammany Hall                           *

       And the bucktails are swiggingit all the night long;

    In the time of my boyhood ‘twas pleasant to call

       For a seat and segar, mid thejovial throng.

      That beer and those bucktails I never forget;

       But oft, when alone, andunnoticed by all,

    I think, is the porter cask foaming there yet?

       Are the bucktails stillswigging at Tammany Hall?

      No! the porter was out long before it was stale,

       But some blossoms on many anose brightly shone,

    And the speeches inspired by the fumes of the ale,

       Had the fragrance of porterwhen porter was gone.

      How much Cozzens will draw of such beer ere he dies,

       Is a question of moment to meand to all;

    For still dear to my soul, as ‘twas then to my eyes,

       Is that barrel of porter atTammany Hall.

      from I Speak of the City:Poems of New York (Columbia University Press) Stephen Wolf, editor.

  9. Peter Mander Says:

    I like the Morse statue too.

  10. John Cooper Says:

    29 statues in Central Park seem quite low. This set lists a lot more:

    And there are 15 pages of them here:

  11. Sheryl H Says:

    29 statues, and only 1 dedicated to real women.

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