Chester Arthur: the statue that kept losing its glasses

Sculptor: George Edwin BissellArchitect: James Brown LordDedicated: 1899 When serving as the 21st president of the United States, Chester Arthur exceeded all expectations. This was due in large part to the fact that nobody expected that much . . . One of the least-remembered presidents, he was known during his lifetime to be an exceptional…

William H. Seward Monument—it’s all about proportion

William H. Seward was a towering figure in 19th-century politics. Serving at different times as a senator, New York governor, and secretary of state (under Abraham Lincoln), he is credited with blocking the European recognition of the Confederacy as well as negotiating the anti-slave trade treaty with Great Britain, among other notable achievements. He was…

Rocking Chair Riots of 1901 in Madison Square Park

New York City has seen its fair share of civil unrest. One of them, however unlikely, was caused by rocking chairs and took place in Madison Square Park. The upscale Madison Square Park neighborhood, located in front of the posh Fifth Avenue Hotel, teamed with elegantly dressed and well heeled elites. One day in 1901,…

Victory Arch – the Last Temporary Triumphal Arch in Madison Square

The Victory Arch was located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway between 24th and 25th streets and stood there from 1918 to 1920. Even though World War I did not officially end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, the combat had stopped on November 11, 1918, when the…

Lost Triumphal Arches of New York

Several triumphal arches were erected in New York City for public celebrations. It’s hard to imagine that most of them were temporary, standing only for short periods of time. Perhaps it’s symbolic of New York,  the agile and ever-changing metropolis, to build such grandiose structures only to be destroyed. Three temporary arches in New York…

MetLife Tower – a Piece of Venice in New York

The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building Architect: Pierre LeBrun of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons Date: 1909 Height: 700′ Floors: 50 Where in the world does the prosaic practicality of an insurance company come in the shape of a Venetian campanile? In New York City, right around Madison Square Park! The MetLife Building, and subsequently its tower, was…