Sunday, December 11, 2011

Brooklyn Statue of Lincoln to be Relocated

The Wall Street Journal has reported on a plan to move a statue of Abraham Lincoln now standing in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, to Grand Army Plaza, the borough's monument to the Union war victory. Actually, move the statue back to the plaza, after it was removed in the 1890s.

"It should be noted that it isn't easy for a statue to find a place to park in Brooklyn, and this one of Lincoln has been circling the block since 1869," writes Barry Newman. "That's when it was put up in the plaza — the first time — by Calvert Vaux and his partner Frederick Law Olmsted, the Lincoln partisan and landscaper of Prospect Park. It was the nation's very first monument to Lincoln, 20 feet tall and paid for by donations of $1 apiece from 13,000 Brooklynites. Olmsted placed it on the commanding northern edge of his plaza's ellipse."

But later, "a grandiose triumphal arch went up in the plaza in 1892, trolley tracks were laid. 'The boys,' said the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, began making Lincoln 'a target for every kind of missile.' The dour president was out of place. In 1895, he was hauled to a Prospect Park lakeside..."

With the current renovation of Prospect Park to its original Olmsted design, moving the Lincoln statue back to its original location seems like the thing to do. But it would mean dislocating a statue of pioneering gynecologist Dr. Alexander Skene at the site, and not everyone is happy about that.

The article continues: "Tony Horwitz, whose new book, Midnight Rising, carves a warts-and-all Lincoln figure, puts it like this: 'He's on the penny, he's on the Mall. Enough Lincoln, already. It's time gynecologists get their due.' "

No comments: