The top ten female statues in New York City
Hey, ladies! We round up our favorite female statues in town—from Lady Liberty to Harriet Tubman
Wed Nov 13 2013
Photograph: Bryant Park Corporation
1. Gertrude Stein
This portrait of the expat author and arts patron became NYC’s first park sculpture of an American woman when it was erected in 1992. (Took long enough, right?) As a testament to her literary awesomeness, Stein was placed near the New York Public Library.
- Bryant Park, enter at Sixth Ave and 40th St
Lady Liberty is NYC’s largest statue of either gender. It’s now viewed as a universal symbol of freedom, but when the French gifted her in 1886, they had a very specific group of people in mind: newly emancipated slaves. Look closely and you’ll see broken shackles at her feet.
- Liberty Island
In 1915, the city unveiled its first statue immortalizing a real woman. It was also the first public work by Anna Huntington, who had to combat the skepticism of a male-dominated art scene to get the assignment.
- Riverside Dr, (between 72nd and 158th Sts)
4. Golda Meir
In 1984, this stoic bust marked the completion of Golda Meir Square, a paved pedestrian area in midtown honoring the former Israeli prime minister. At the time, it was America’s only monument to Meir. (Today there’s another one in Milwaukee.)
- Northwest corner of Broadway and 39th St
More than 1 million big ones were spent on this project, which included a renovation of the surrounding Riverside Park. The full-body likeness of Mrs. FDR—leaning against a boulder, resting her chin on her hand—was dedicated in 1996, with fellow First Lady Hillary Clinton in attendance.
- Riverside Park, enter at Riverside Dr and 72nd St
This 14-year-old girl was the first immigrant through Ellis Island’s doors when they opened in 1892. To honor the 100th anniversary of the event—the art was revealed in 1993—sculptor Jeanne Rynhart created statues at both Ellis Island and a departure point in Cork, Ireland, honoring Annie and all the American Dream connotations she conjures.
- Ellis Island
7. I. Miller Building
The structure’s 46th Street facade sports the glamorous visages of four Roaring ’20s stage and screen stars—Ethel Barrymore, Marilyn Miller, Rosa Ponselle and Mary Pickford—who were chosen by the public to grace the edifice.
- 1552 Broadway at 46th St
Seated on Columbia University’s library steps, this 1903 creation (officially titled Alma Mater) by Daniel Chester French—whose most famous work is Honest Abe at D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial—is part of an ongoing school myth: It’s believed that the first student in each class to spot Athena’s hidden owl will graduate valedictorian and marry a nice Barnard girl. (The rumor originated in Columbia’s boys-only days.)
- Low Memorial Library, W 116th St between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway
9. Harriet Tubman Memorial
Debuted in 2008, this figure honors the Underground Railroad leader and famed abolitionist, who, even in statue form, appears proud and on a mission. African-American artist Alison Saar devised the piece, which stands on a traffic triangle in Harlem.
- Southwest corner of Eighth Ave and 122nd St
Green-Wood Cemetery boasts many famous graves—and the most popular ones are for men. That’s why we love this image of the Roman goddess, commemorating the Battle of Brooklyn. Charles Higgins made sure the robed figure faced her counterpart in New York Harbor, arm raised in a show of female solidarity—or so we like to think.
- Green-Wood Cemetery, enter at Fifth Ave and 25th St, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
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Senior Editor: Amy Plitt (@plitter)
Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)