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
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