According to the author of a new book about the creation of the Statue of Liberty, it’s sculptor originally wanted to put Lady Liberty in Central or Prospect Park. The massive symbol of freedom would have loomed over New Yorkers right from the heart of Manhattan, but the designers of Central Park pushed back.
As Elizabeth Mitchell, author of Liberty’s Torch tells it, the planners of New York’s largest green space knew that it would be “extremely spooky to have a statue of that size in the park and they wanted to make sure he [Frédéric Bartholdi] wasn’t going to get any support for it.” Yes, imagining that at night is slightly terrifying.
The entire interview with Mitchell is full of fascinating details, like the fact that Bartholdi really just wanted to make something huge and permanent so he first approached Egypt with a colossus. After that was turned down, the master hustler kept working channels for funding and pitted NYC against Philadelphia and Boston to get a bidding war started.
If the Mother of Exiles had been built in Central Park, it’s inevitable conversion into condominiums would be even more expensive than estimated. (Photo: Wikipedia)