This heroic-sized bronze bust by Gustaf Blaeser (1813–1874) depicts German scientist, explorer, and naturalist Frederick Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859). Humboldt made an expedition into Central and South America in 1799, exploring the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers and portions of the Andes to learn more about meteorology and plant life. His later expedition to Siberia in 1829 furthered his study of ocean currents and magnetism.
Humboldt not only explored the Americas, but also researched extensively in his home country. He and French chemist Joseph Gay-Lussac studied the behavior of gases, laying the groundwork for many 19th century theories of the structure of matter. These studies, coupled with the knowledge gained on his research voyages, allowed Humboldt to pen the influential, five-volume work, The Cosmos (1845). Presenting an integrative view of the universe, this work combined the top theories of the time with Humboldt’s broad range of research.
The monument, donated by the Humboldt Memorial Association, was dedicated at its original location at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue on September 14, 1869. Gustav Blaeser knew Humboldt and used his death mask as a reference as he sculpted the bust. In 1981 it was moved to its current location at Explorer’s Gate on Central Park West and 77th Street, across from the Museum of Natural History. In 1993 the Central Park Conservancy conserved the Humboldt Monument.
Alexander von Humboldt Details
- Location: Central Park West and 77th Street
- Sculptor: Gustaf Blaeser
- Description: Bust (over life-size) on pedestal
- Materials: Bronze, Westerly granite
- Dimensions: Bust H: 4'3"; overall H: 13' W: 6'10" D: 6'
- Cast: 1869
- Dedicated: September 14, 1869
- Foundry: Georg Howaldt & Sohn, Braunschweig
- Donor: Humboldt Memorial Association
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Know Before You Go
There are currently 2 service interruptions affecting access within this park.
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
Starting June 29, 2015, Central Park Drives north of 72nd Street will be permanently car-free. For more information, please visit on.nyc.gov/1MOAh40.
Central Park Weather
- NYC Parks Celebrates A Decade Since Unveiling The Gates In Central Park, Looks Forward To Art In Parks In 2015
- This Weekend In Parks
- Tomorrow's World: The New York World's Fairs And Flushing Meadows Park On View At The Arsenal Gallery
- Exhibition: Living Landmarks
- Central Park Tour: North Woods
- National Night Out - Central Park Precinct
- Shakespeare in the Park: Cymbeline
- Exhibition: Living Landmarks
- Baseball Fields
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- Dog-friendly Areas
- Fitness Equipment
- Great Trees
- Handball Courts
- Historic Houses
- Horseback Riding Trails
- Ice Skating Rinks
- Nature Centers
- Outdoor Pools
- Paddleboat Rentals
- Recreation Centers
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- Spray Showers
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- Zoos and Aquariums
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