2016 NYC Trip Photos #6: Central Park Statue Stalking

Sherman Statue!

General Sherman prepares to depart Manhattan and rampage all over those Confederate flag sites we saw on our 2015 road trip to the South.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

And in our last chapter:

On our 2011 vacation we saw maybe 5% of the total square footage of Central Park, if that. We saw a feature or two, but were so drained by the time we got there that the oppressive summer heat burned away the last of our energy reserves along with any drive for exploration. After we finished with St. Paul’s Chapel, we decided another, longer tour through Central Park was in order. All told, our Central Park walk took us from Grand Army Plaza at 59th and 5th to just behind the Met at 81st Street.

A few Central Park art fixtures were at the top of Anne’s must-see checklist. We encountered more than twice as many statues as we expected before we reached the two she was looking for at the end of our trail.

When you enter Central Park via the southeast corner at Grand Army Plaza, the most eye-catching fixture is Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ statue of famed Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. It was completed in 1903, twelve years after Sherman’s death, and had its gold-leaf exterior regilded from top to bottom in 2015.

Sherman Victory!

…costarring Victory as Sherman’s herald, announcing his brutal arrival to foes like the Silver Surfer fronting for Galactus.

Thomas Moore!

Not far away, a bust of 19th-century Irish poet Thomas Moore has overseen picnic blankets and kids throwing objects back and forth since 1880.

Christopher Columbus!

Christopher Columbus, several blocks away from Columbus Circle, has been on guard duty since 1894 and was last renovated in 1993, same year as several other statues.

Shakespeare!

Shakespeare in the Park, not to be confused with the performance area, dates back to 1864, the era of actual General Sherman.

Robert Burns!

This Robert Burns facsimile was dedicated in 1880, but in all honesty we were so transfixed by Bubble Guy that I didn’t know Burns was there till after we uploaded our photos to our home PC and caught him as a background Easter egg.

Hans Christian Andersen!

Hi, I’m Hans Christian Andersen! You might remember me from such films as The Little Mermaid and Frozen! The Ugly Duckling and I have only been hanging around since 1956, so we’re practically youngsters!

Several blocks and calories later, we reached the first of Anne’s objectives: the Alice in Wonderland diorama, a 1959 gift to Central Park sculpted by José de Creeft and facilitated by philanthropist George Delacorte, best known as the founder of Dell Publishing, the company behind numerous puzzle magazines and millions of comic books sold from the ’40s to the ’60s. Lewis Carroll’s two-hit wonder was a treasure to his six kids, so a tribute for the kids of New York was an apropos salute.

Alice in Wonderland!

Kids today love it so much that it’s next to impossible to take a picture in daytime without five or six of them climbing all over it. Pokemon Go wasn’t the only plaything inspiring exercise ’round these parts.

Alice!

Alice and the Dormouse, locked in an eternal staring contest.

Mad Hatter!

Anne waited patiently for several minutes till she could enjoy a photo op with the Mad Hatter, alone and sans happy ragamuffins.

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE BAT!

HOLY LARCENY RHYME, BATMAN! THAT FOPPISH FIEND HAS LEFT A CLUE TO HIS NEXT SINISTER — oh, wait, this is just a plaque with a quote from the books.

Anne’s other objective was the great-great-great-granddaddy of stone monuments: Cleopatra’s Needle. This 69-foot obelisk dates back to 1450 B.C. Its strange, arguably extralegal journey took it from Heliopolis to Alexandria to NYC in 1881, with a 2013-2014 cleanup project performed to forestall erosion and extend its lifespan a tad more. It stands behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art, though the path is a bit twisted and not so straightforward.

Cleopatra's Needle!

The hieroglyphs on each side sing praises of Horus, Ra, Osiris, Ramses II, and other Egyptian personalities of the time. It was like their lo-fi version of Times Square.

Three Bears!

Last artwork on our way out of Central Park toward Fifth Avenue was this centerpiece inside the Pat Hoffman Friedman Playground — cast in 1960 from a 1932 statue, on display outside since 1990. Sculptor Paul Manship named it “Group of Bears”. He is wrong. The correct name is “Three Bears”.

To be continued!

* * * * *

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email signup for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my TV live-tweeting and other signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]

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About Randall A. Golden
Hoosier since birth, geek since age 6, father at 22, Christian at 30; launched Midlife Crisis Crossover at 39. Full-time service rep; part-time internet contributor; former message board admin; inhabits Twitter as @RandallGolden. Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of any other corporation, being, or party line.

Comments, questions, and suggestions for future entries welcome. No, really!

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