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Carl Schurz Park

Peter Pan map_it

History

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

“All children, except one, grow up.”

Charles Andrew Hafner (1889-1960) created this bronze sculpture of Peter Pan in 1928 for a fountain in the lobby of the old Paramount Theater in Times Square. Other works by Hafner, who trained with the noted sculptors James Earle Fraser (1876-1953) and Solon Borglum (1868-1922), include a terra cotta pediment for New York’s Rivoli Theater and a marble fountain entitled The Dance for the Albee Theater in Brooklyn. In 1975, this statue was donated to the City by Hugh Trumbull Adams through the Salute to Seasons Fund, and placed in this cloistered garden setting.

Peter Pan is the central character in the famous stories by Scottish novelist and dramatist Sir James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937). He emerged from the stories that Barrie told to the children of his long-time friend, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, first appearing in print in Barrie’s 1902 adult novel, The Little White Bird. Peter Pan was produced as a play in 1904, and finally novelized in 1911 as Peter and Wendy. The book and the play chronicle the escapades of a boy who never grew up, his life on the fantastical isle of NeverLand, and his seductive effect on three children from a “proper” British family.

Peter Pan was first performed on the New York stage at the Empire Theater in 1905, with the actress Maude Adams in the lead role. Through continual revivals, several movies (including an animated version in 1953, and the 1960 classic starring Mary Martin), and the undiminished popularity of the original stories, Barrie’s dashing, cocky, and eternally youthful hero has created a place for himself in our collective imagination.

In August 1999, Peter Pan disappeared. In a widely reported act of vandalism, the statue was dislodged from its base, to be subsequently recovered by the New York Police Department from the bottom of the East River. There were no suspects, indeed, as Parks Commissioner Stern said at the time, “We thought his only enemy was Captain Hook.” Celia Lipton Farris, a British actress who had played Peter Pan on the stage, contributed funds toward the restoration and more secure reinstallation of the sculpture in 1999. The Carl Schurz Park Association contributes to the care of Peter Pan.

Photo of Peter Pan sculpture in Carl Schurz Park

Peter Pan Details

  • Sculptor: C.A. Hafner
  • Description: Figure on hexagonal base
  • Materials: Bronze, black granite (honed)
  • Fabricator: A. Ottavino Corp., 9/8/75
  • Donor: Salute to the Seasons Fund
  • Inscription: ON BRONZE: C.A. HAFNER SC. / N.Y. 1928/

Please note, the NAME field includes a primary designation as well as alternate namings often in common or popular usage. The DEDICATED field refers to the most recent dedication, most often, but not necessarily the original dedication date. If the monument did not have a formal dedication, the year listed reflects the date of installation.

For more information, please contact Art & Antiquities at (212) 360-8143

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