An overview of Central Park statues

New York’s Central Park is known for picnics, concerts, jogging, boating and other fun activities. In addition, one of the of the most intriguing aspects of the famous park  is the several hundred statues there. They represents many subjects, from actual war heroes to heroic dogs to fictional smiling cats.

While some represent real people and events, others portray cherished tales from one’s childhood. The statues, monuments, busts and other works of stone and metal art in Central Park can be appreciated by people of all tastes and ages. Selecting just a few may induce you to visit the beautiful green oasis in the middle of Manhattan’s steel and stone high-rise buildings.

An interesting sculpture is a seated figure of Danish children’s author Hans Christian Andersen. The humorous monument portrays him reading a story to a duck standing at his feet. This portrayal reminds children of all ages of his famous tale of “The Ugly Duckling”. Every day, visiting children are attracted to the sculpture both for its humorous theme, as well as to sit on the bench next to Andersen and become natural parts of the work of art.

The figures of other authors are also represented in Central Park. Included are England’s Sir Walter Scott and Scotland’s Robert Burns, as well as William Shakespeare. They remind visitors of the great contributions by Great Britain’s authors to American literary heritage.

In contrast to the peaceful settings of most of Central Park’s monuments, the 107th Infantry Memorial statue depicts a group of five World War I members of the New York National Guard during one of the unit’s many battles. It’s dedicated to the men who served in the 107th New York Infantry Regiment. Four of the unit’s soldiers were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery.

Another statue dedicated to heroism depicts an Alaskan sled dog named Balto. He is remembered for leading teams over 600 miles through a bitter snowstorm in the winter of 1925 to deliver lifesaving medicines to diphtheria victims in the city of Nome.

No trip to Central Park with youngsters would be complete without visiting the large sculpture setting showing moments from British author Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The young heroine sits on a giant mushroom gesturing to the White Rabbit, the impatient character who holds out his pocket watch to her. Behind Alice is the ever-grinning Cheshire cat, looking on the tea party scene. The Mad Hatter and dormouse make up the rest of the sculpture grouping.

There are many, many more sculptures in Central Park, and each is worth a visit and a pause in appreciation.