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Central Park’s first-ever female statue is coming in 2020

Written by
Howard Halle

One thing you can see a lot of in Central Park is statues. There's a seemingly diverse array of literary and historical worthies except for one small matter: They're all statues of men.

That's right, there isn't a single sculpture of an historically significant woman in the park, and to make matters worse, there are only five such monuments of women in all of New York (meanwhile, there are 145 statues of men, 25 of them in Central Park). That’s hard to believe in 2018, but there you have it. The good news? There will be a statue of two women coming to the park in 2020.

Photograph: Glenn Castellano, New-York Historical Society

To be fair, there are statues of female figures—but they're of fictional women. The best-known of these is probably the sculpture of Alice from Alice In Wonderland. There are even some sculptures of animals in the park, including Balto, a sled dog who helped deliver diphtheria antitoxin to the town of Nome, Alaska, during an outbreak of the disease there in 1925. But famous, you know, real-life women? Not so much.   

Still, there is a redress of sorts on the horizon. Sometime in 2020, a sculpture by artist Meredith Bergmann depicting Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony—two feminist pioneers who were key figures in the fight for women’s voting rights—will be unveiled in Central Park’s Mall, according to the New-York Historical Society. They will be joining the aforementioned citywide lineup of honored women that includes Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt and Har­riet Tubman (the only African-American woman in the bunch). (Baby steps, right?)

Meanwhile, if you want to get a sense of what the statue will look like, there’s a model of it on view at the New-York Historical Society through the end of July.  

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