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Simon Bolivar Monument


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

One of a trio of bronze equestrian sculptures representing Latin American leaders, the Simon Bolivar statue commemorates a military general and advocate of Pan-Americanism. Bolivar (1783-1830) is credited with the liberation from Spanish domination of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Panama.

R. De Las Cora designed the first statue of Simon Bolivar that was installed in Central Park in 1891 on a knoll near West 83rd Street, dubbed “Bolivar Hill.” Critics of the statue believed it did not live up to the original artistic vision and it was subsequently removed at the direction of the Park Board. Sculptor Giovanni Turinni submitted a second interpretation of Bolivar in 1897, but it was rejected by the National Sculpture Society, which at that time advised the Board on sculpture installations.

In 1916, the Venezuelan government sponsored a worldwide competition to select a sculptor to render Bolivar. From 20 entrants, the committee selected Sally James Farnham (1876-1943), a relatively unknown sculptor. Farnham’s statue depicts Bolivar in full military dress upon his steed, which has its hoofs in the air. The sculpture was dedicated at Bolivar Hill on April 19, 1921. United States President Warren G. Harding (1865-1923), who spoke at the event, used the occasion to deliver a major policy address in which he urged greater cooperation between North and South America.

In 1945, Sixth Avenue was renamed Avenue of the Americas at the suggestion of Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia (1882-1947), to honor Pan-American ideals and principles. A new plaza was designed where the avenue meets Central Park. The statue of Bolivar was moved to the eastern side of the plaza, placed on a new black granite pedestal designed by the firm of Clarke and Rapuano, and rededicated on April 19, 1951. A month later, the statue of Argentine general Jose de San Martin was unveiled on the plaza’s west side, and in 1965 the dynamic statue of Cuban poet and activist Jose Marti was dedicated between the two earlier works.

In 1988, the Simon Bolivar statue was conserved through the Adopt-A-Monument Program, a joint venture of Parks, the Municipal Art Society, and the New York City Art Commission. The restored statue, now maintained by the Central Park Conservancy, remains a tangible symbol of the independence of Latin America.


Simon Bolivar Monument Details

  • Location: Central Park South and Avenue of the Americas
  • Sculptor: Sally Jane Farnham
  • Architect: Clarke & Rapuano
  • Description: Equestrian statue (heroic scale) on pedestal with four coats of arms
  • Materials: Statue and coats of arms--bronze; Pedestal--black granite (polished)
  • Dimensions: Statue H: 13'6" L: 13'; Pedestal H: 20'4" L: 12'6" W: 6'1"
  • Cast: 1919
  • Dedicated: April 19, 1921
  • Donor: Government of Venezuela

Please note, the NAME field includes a primary designation as well as alternate namingsoften in common or popular usage. The DEDICATED field refers to the most recent dedication, most often, butnot necessarily the original dedication date. If the monument did not have a formal dedication, the yearlisted reflects the date of installation.

For more information, please contact Art & Antiquities at (212) 360-8143

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Know Before You Go

There are currently 4 service interruptions affecting access within this park.

ParkCentral Park

Raccoons in Central Park have tested positive for canine distemper virus. Although the virus cannot be transmitted to humans, it may be transmitted to dogs. Keep your pets safe in the park.

Please avoid wildlife and make sure your pets have up-to-date distemper and rabies vaccines. Keep your pet on a leash, especially during dawn and dusk.

Please call 311 or notify an on-site Parks employee if you see a sick or injured animal.

If you are bitten, wash the wound with soap and water immediately. Call your doctor to see if you need tetanus or rabies shots, and call 311 to report the bite.

The Health Department will continue to monitor this condition.

Anticipated Completion: Summer 2018

ParkCentral Park

Beginning June 27, 2018, Central Park will become entirely car-free. The Central Park transverse roads at 97th, 86th, 79th and 65th Streets will remain open to motor vehicles.

Nature CentersBelvedere Castle Visitor Center

Beginning Monday, February 26, Belvedere Castle will be closed for restoration. The castle will reopen to the public in 2019. To reach our Urban Park Rangers at Central Park, please call (212) 360-1444.

ParkCentral Park

Beginning Monday, February 26, Belvedere Castle will be closed for restoration. The surrounding plaza and terrace remain open, but will also close in the coming weeks. The Belvedere will reopen to the public in 2019. For more information on the restoration of Belvedere Castle, please visit Central Park Conservancy's website.

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