City Hall Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, November 8, 2004


Sculpture Being Moved to Make Way for Construction of British Memorial Garden

On Friday, October 30, 2004, at 9 a.m., the statue of Abraham De Peyster, the first mayor of New Amsterdam, was removed from Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan. The statue of De Peyster will first go to Randall’s Island for conservation and refurbishment and then to a new home in City Hall Park.

This impressive bronze portrait statue, created by American sculptor George Edwin Bissell (1839-1920), depicts Mayor Abraham De Peyster (1657–1728). Born in New Amsterdam (now known as "Manhattan"), De Peyster came from a prosperous mercantile family. In his youth he spent nine years working on the family farm in the Netherlands, before returning in 1684 to New Amsterdam. He quickly ascended the City’s political ladder, occupying almost all of the important colonial offices, including alderman, mayor, member of the king’s council, and acting governor. De Peyster amassed great wealth, and by the end of his life he is said to have been one of the city’s richest merchants.

The bronze statue was created by American sculptor George Edwin Bissell. Originally, the sculpture was placed in Bowling Green Park in 1898. It was relocated to Hanover Square in 1976. Its relocation makes way for a monumental granite sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor, dedicated to the unity between the United States and the United Kingdom, that will be the centerpiece of the British Memorial Garden at Hanover Square.

"De Peyster, a former Mayor, will be back at the seat of government," said Manhattan Parks Borough Commissioner William Castro. "That makes the move the longest comeback on record."

The British Memorial Garden Trust is building a very British garden to commemorate the British victims of the World Trade Center attacks and to celebrate the historic links between the two countries. The garden is being designed by Julian and Isabel Bannerman, noted British landscape architects, with local support from Matthews Nielsen. The project is being overseen by John Kinnear, AIA, in conjunction with the British Memorial Garden Trust. All of the stone and iron work in the topiary garden is coming from Great Britain, representing England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Construction at the site will begin in the spring of 2005.

For additional information, visit

With contributions from Peggy Brown
The British Memorial Garden Trust



"Life is too important to be taken seriously."

Oscar Wilde

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