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Central Park

Waldo Hutchins map_it

History

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

Though there are many benches in Central Park, few are as special as this elaborate exedra (curved outdoor bench) overlooking Conservatory Water, which honors public servant Waldo Hutchins (1822–1891).

Born in the same year as Central Park’s designer Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), Hutchins was an original member of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park, the state-authorized legislative body which oversaw the park’s design, construction, and management in its infancy. Hutchins served as a park commissioner from 1857 to 1869, and again from 1887 to 1891. He also was a United States Congressman from 1879 to 1885.

This monument to Hutchins was erected in 1932, a gift of August S. Hutchins. It measures nearly four feet high by twenty-seven feet long, and its architect was Eric Gugler. The carved white marble stonework is attributed to Corrado Novani and the Piccirilli Brothers studio, the same firm responsible for the Maine Monument at Columbus Circle and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The sundial component was designed by Albert Stewart, and famed sculptor Paul Manship is credited with the small bronze figure at its center.

Three semicircular lines inscribed in the paving match the bench’s shadow lines at 10:00 a.m., noon, and 2:00 p.m. at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. Etched into the back of the bench are the Latin phrases, Alteri Vivas Oportet Sit Vis Tibi Vivere and Ne Diruat Fuga Temporium. Loosely translated, these mean, “You should live for another if you would live for yourself,” and “Let it not be destroyed by the passage of time.” The bench and its inscriptions honor a man who helped create Central Park, promote personal fulfillment through public service, and acknowledge the preservation of those things we treasure.

Waldo Hutchins Details

  • Location: 5th Avenue at 72nd Street
  • Sculptor: Piccirilli Brothers (exedra); Paul Manship (bronze)
  • Architect: Eric Gugler
  • Description: Exedra with sundial
  • Materials: Concord white granite, bronze
  • Dimensions: H: 3'7" W: 27'3" D:16'4"
  • Dedicated: 1932
  • Donor: August S. Hutchins
  • Inscription: INSCRIPTION:ALTERI - VIVAS - OPORTET - SI - FIS- TIBI - VIVERI

    WALDO HUTCHINS / MDCCCXXII - MDCCCXC / PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD/
    MDCCLXXXIX - MDCCCXC/A FOUNDER OF CENTRAL PARK / MDCCCLVII -
    MDCCLXVII / NE - DIR -VAT - VR - FUGA - TEMPORIUM MCMXXX

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

Directions to Central Park

Know Before You Go

There are currently 2 service interruptions affecting access within this park.

PlaygroundsEast 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.

ParkCentral 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

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