NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Tompkinsville Park

The Hiker map_it

History

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

The Hiker statue honors those local soldiers who served in the Spanish-American War (1898–1902). Depicting a foot soldier dressed in military fatigues, with a rifle slung over his shoulder, the image (and nickname) is derived from the long marches that the infantry endured in the tropical Cuban climate and terrain. Fought primarily in Cuba and the Philippines, the conflict pitted Cuban patriots, whom the United States supported in its efforts to establish itself as a dominant power in the Western hemisphere, against Spanish colonial power. The United States defeated Spain, and after seizing the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, emerged as a true world power.

Several versions of Hiker monuments exist across the country. This one, by Allen G. Newman (1875–1940), was copyrighted by the sculptor in 1904 and for a time served as the official monument of the United Spanish War Veterans (USWV), one of the organizations that that sponsored the Tompkinsville Park monument. One of over twenty Newman Hiker statues cast by J. Williams, Inc., a New York foundry, the pose—the style reminiscent of Newman’s teacher J.Q.A. Ward—is thought to be derived from a famous 1899 image by noted American Western artist Frederic Remington (1861–1909), then a war correspondent in Cuba. Newman Hikers are found in two sizes: a nine-foot heroic version and this seven-foot life-size version.

The statue was dedicated in 1916 and stood in front of Staten Island Borough Hall, but being frequently hit by cars, the stature was moved to its present location in 1925. Here it has been the focal point for the community’s annual Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day parades. Additional tablets, dedicated to the Daughters of the American Revolution and those who served in the Civil War and World War I, have been installed on the pedestal.

In 1998, the monument was conserved by the City Parks Foundation Monuments Conservation Program. The treatment included cleaning, repatining, and applying a protective coating to the bronze sculpture. The project was funded in part by The American Express Company, the Florence Gould Foundation, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Photo of The Hiker statue in Tompkinsville Park, Staten Island

The Hiker Details

  • Sculptor: Allen G. Newman
  • Description: Standing figure (life size), on pedestal with four plaques
  • Materials: Bronze, North Jay granite
  • Dimensions: Figure H: 6'7"; Pedestal H: 6' W: 5'10" D: 5'10"; Plaques H: 1'8" W: 2'6"
  • Cast: 1916
  • Dedicated: 1916
  • Foundry: Jno. Williams, Inc.
  • Donor: Public subscription
  • Inscription: 1) Pedestal north face: HIKER MONUMENT / ERECTED / IN COMMEMORATION OF / THE HEROES OF ALL WARS / IN WHICH / OUR BELOVED COUNTRY / WAS ENGAGED / FOR THE / PRICIPLES OF DEMOCRACY / AND / A LASTING CIVILIZATION [---] JOSEPH S. DECKER COM. / NO. 20 DEPT. N.Y. UNITED / SPANISH WAR VETERANS /

    2) Pedestal south face: DEDICATED / TO / THE DAUGHTERS / OF THE / AMERICAN / REVOLUTION / 1776-1812 / 1848-1861-65 / 1898-1917-18 /

    3) Pedestal east face: DEDICATED / TO / OUR YOUNGER COMRADES / OF THE / AMERICAN LEGION / 1917-1918 / WHO SUCESSFULLY / WAGED WAR ON FOREIGN SOIL / FOR / FREEDOM / PATRIOTISM / AND HUMANITY /

    4) Pedestal west face: DEDICATED / TO / OUR OLDER COMRADES / OF / ROBERT G. SHAW POST NO. 112 / GRAND ARMY OF / THE REPUBLIC / WHO BATTLED IN THE WAR/ THAT TRIED MEN'S SOULS / AND GAVE / TO FUTURE GENERATIONS / THE HERITAGE OF / A REUNITED COUNTRY / 1861-1865 /




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

Park Information

Directions to Tompkinsville Park

  • Tompkinsville Park

Tompkinsville Park Weather

  • Thu
    Rain
    57°F
  • Fri
    Mostly Cloudy
    66°F
  • Sat
    Mostly Sunny
    67°F
  • Sun
    Breezy
    61°F

7-day forecast

Facilities

Highlights

Was this information helpful?