As part of the city’s plan to diversify public art and recognize figures overlooked by history in New York City, Central Park is getting another statue, as the New York Times reports. The privately-funded monument will commemorate Seneca Village, the predominantly black community that was thriving until the 1850s in what became Central Park. Once again, however, the city’s commemorative statue planning has fallen afoul of historians. The proposed structure won’t be located at the site of Seneca Village, which for nearly three decades stretched between West 83rd and 89th streets in Central Park. Instead, the monument’s home will be in the park, but 20 blocks to the north on 106th street.
Image via Governor Cuomo’s Flickr
Despite garnering the most votes in a public poll, Mother Frances Cabrini will not be memorialized as part of the She Built NYC program run by First Lady Chirlane McCray. Controversy has followed the decision to not include Cabrini in recent days, with Mayor Bill de Blasio stepping in to suggest she would be a contender in future editions of the program during The Brian Lehrer Show last Friday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded by calling the decision an “affront” to the Italian-American community. During Monday’s Columbus Day Parade, the governor announced a new state commission that will lead the creation of a separate memorial for Cabrini.
Wittenberg Triangle, the proposed location for the monument honoring Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Image via Google Earth.
Days before the start of Pride Month, the city announced on Thursday that the next She Built NYC monument will honor two transgender activists, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, key leaders in the Stonewall Uprising that sparked the gay and LGBTQ rights movement in America. The monument is currently planned for Ruth Wittenberg Triangle in the heart of the Village and near other important LGBTQ neighborhood landmarks including the Stonewall Inn. The city is seeking artists interested in creating the public monuments honoring Johnson and Rivera in an open call.
Rendering by Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous.
In New York City’s five boroughs, only five out of 150 monuments of historic figures depict women. Launched last year, a program from Women.nyc called She Built NYC is attempting to narrow that gap by commissioning monuments throughout the city honoring visionary women who have helped define the city and made an impact on the world. To that end, acclaimed artists Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous have been selected to design the first of these monuments, which will honor celebrated New York congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.