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
Directions to Central Park
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
- Shakespeare in the Park: The Tempest
- Stories at the Statue of Hans Christian Andersen
- Central Park Tour: Conservatory Garden
- Central Park Tour: Heart of the Park
- Central Park Tour: Northern Forts
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