One of a trio of bronze equestrian sculptures representing Latin American leaders, the Simon Bolivar statue commemorates a military general and advocate of Pan-Americanism. Bolivar (1783-1830) is credited with the liberation from Spanish domination of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Panama.
R. De Las Cora designed the first statue of Simon Bolivar that was installed in Central Park in 1891 on a knoll near West 83rd Street, dubbed “Bolivar Hill.” Critics of the statue believed it did not live up to the original artistic vision and it was subsequently removed at the direction of the Park Board. Sculptor Giovanni Turinni submitted a second interpretation of Bolivar in 1897, but it was rejected by the National Sculpture Society, which at that time advised the Board on sculpture installations.
In 1916, the Venezuelan government sponsored a worldwide competition to select a sculptor to render Bolivar. From 20 entrants, the committee selected Sally James Farnham (1876-1943), a relatively unknown sculptor. Farnham’s statue depicts Bolivar in full military dress upon his steed, which has its hoofs in the air. The sculpture was dedicated at Bolivar Hill on April 19, 1921. United States President Warren G. Harding (1865-1923), who spoke at the event, used the occasion to deliver a major policy address in which he urged greater cooperation between North and South America.
In 1945, Sixth Avenue was renamed Avenue of the Americas at the suggestion of Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia (1882-1947), to honor Pan-American ideals and principles. A new plaza was designed where the avenue meets Central Park. The statue of Bolivar was moved to the eastern side of the plaza, placed on a new black granite pedestal designed by the firm of Clarke and Rapuano, and rededicated on April 19, 1951. A month later, the statue of Argentine general Jose de San Martin was unveiled on the plaza’s west side, and in 1965 the dynamic statue of Cuban poet and activist Jose Marti was dedicated between the two earlier works.
In 1988, the Simon Bolivar statue was conserved through the Adopt-A-Monument Program, a joint venture of Parks, the Municipal Art Society, and the New York City Art Commission. The restored statue, now maintained by the Central Park Conservancy, remains a tangible symbol of the independence of Latin America.
Simon Bolivar Monument Details
- Location: Central Park South and Avenue of the Americas
- Sculptor: Sally Jane Farnham
- Architect: Clarke & Rapuano
- Description: Equestrian statue (heroic scale) on pedestal with four coats of arms
- Materials: Statue and coats of arms--bronze; Pedestal--black granite (polished)
- Dimensions: Statue H: 13'6" L: 13'; Pedestal H: 20'4" L: 12'6" W: 6'1"
- Cast: 1919
- Dedicated: April 19, 1921
- Donor: Government of Venezuela
- Inscription: SIMON BOLIVAR / EL LIBERATOR /---/ VENEZUELA A LA CIUDAD / DE NUEVA YORK /---/ LIBERTADOR DE VENEZUELA / NUEVA GRANADA / ECUADOR, PERU / FUNDADOR DE BOLIVIA / ---/ NACIO EN CARACAS / EL 24 DE JULIO DE 1783 / MURIO EN SANTA MARTA / EL 17 DE DICIEMBRE DE 1830
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There are currently 2 service interruptions affecting access within this park.
East 72nd St Playground
The East 72nd St Playground is closed for construction. It will reopen this summer. Central Park Conservancy is renovating the playground to improve its accessibility and connection to the park's landscape. Please visit the Central Park Conservancyfor more information.
As of April 27, Central Park's Bow Bridge is closed to the public for structural work and a fresh coat of paint. The work is expected to last three to four months. Removing the old paint will require wrapping the bridge in a tent-like structure to prevent debris from falling into the water. Along with repainting, the work will include replacing the wooden decking, fixing several beams on the underside of the span, and reinforcing approaches at either end.
Anticipated Completion: Summer 2015
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- This Weekend In Parks
- Tomorrow's World: The New York World's Fairs And Flushing Meadows Park On View At The Arsenal Gallery
- Central Park Tour: Iconic Views of Central Park
- Central Park Tour: Southern Welcome Tour
- Central Park Tour: Belvedere's Kingdom
- Central Park Tour: Heart of the Park
- Central Park Tour: Conservatory Garden
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