NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Riverside Park

Ralph Ellison Memorial map_it

  • Sculptor: Elizabeth Catlett
  • Architect: Ken Smith, Landscape Architect
  • Description: Sculpture; rectangular bronze structure with cut-out male figure; four engraved stone markers
  • Materials: Bronze and deer isle granite
  • Dimensions: H: 15' W: 7'6" D: 6" Weight: 5,000 lbs
  • Cast: 2002
  • Dedicated: May 1, 2003
  • Foundry: Johnson Atelier, Mercerville, NJ
  • Inscription: Inscription 1:
    RALPH ELLISON / 1914-1994 / AMERICAN WRITER / LONGTIME RESIDENT OF 730 RIVERSIDE DRIVE / HIS PIONEERING NOVEL, INVISIBLE MAN (1952), / DETAILS THE STRUGGLES OF A YOUNG / AFRICAN-AMERICAN MAN IN A HOSTILE SOCIETY. /

    Inscription 2:
    "I AM AN INVISIBLE MAN... / I AM INVISIBLE, UNDERSTAND, SIMPLY BECAUSE / PEOPLE REFUSE TO SEE ME." / -RALPH ELLISON, 1952 / INVISIBLE MAN / ELIZABETH CATLETT / SCULPTOR / MAY 2003 /

    Inscription 3:
    "THE VERY IDEA OF BEING IN NEW YORK WAS DREAMLIKE, / FOR LIKE MANY YOUNG NEGROES OF THE TIME, I THOUGHT / OF IT AS THE FREEST OF AMERICAN CITIES, AND CONSIDERED / HARLEM AS THE SITE AND SYMBOL OF AFRO-AMERICAN / PROGRESS AND HOPE. INDEED, I WAS BOTH YOUNG AND / BOOKISH ENOUGH TO THINK OF MANHATTAN AS MY / SUBSTITUTE FOR PARIS, AND OF HARLEM AS A PLACE OF LEFT / BANK EXCITEMENT. SO NOW THAT I WAS THERE IN ITS / GLAMOROUS SCENE, I MEANT TO MAKE THE MOST OF ITS / OPPORTUNITIES." / -RALPH ELLISON / AN EXTRAVAGENCE OF LAUGHTER, 1986 /

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 Riverside Park

Riverside Park Weather

  • Tue
    Chance Showers
    66°F
  • Wed
    Scattered Showers
    71°F
  • Thu
    Partly Sunny
    71°F
  • Fri
    Partly Sunny
    70°F

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