NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Central Park could be getting its first new bronze statues in over 60 years as a local group pushes to honor the women responsible for getting all Americans the right to vote.
In a town where figures in bronze are seemingly everywhere, it’s hard to find a good woman.
Sure, there’s an armor-clad Joan of Arc hidden in the trees at 93rd and Riverside, and a pensive Eleanor Roosevelt 14 blocks to the south, but they are the exception, CBS2’s Lou Young reported Monday.
If you search all 843 acres of Central Park you will find no statues of real women.
Female images are all either symbolic or fictitious, like Alice in Wonderland.
There are plenty of real men but no women.
“The point is women are real. They have real accomplishments. They have real names. They have real thoughts, real ideas,” Coline Jenkins said.
Jenkins is the great, great granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who, along with Susan B. Anthony, is credited with galvanizing the country in favor of a woman’s right to vote. Jenkins is part of an effort to put their statues in the park. People Young spoke with were shocked to learn that would be a first.
“Oh, it’s very overdue,” Upper West Side resident Nora Prentice said, adding when asked if she knew of the omission, “I did not. I am shocked.”
It comes as a surprise to everybody. Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said he had trouble believing it when someone told him back in November. He went to his office and checked and sure enough it was true and they’re fixing it.
“As far as we’re concerned, we’re giving it the green light to proceed. We have a location, and now they have to raise the funds; have a design competition and then we can go ahead and install it,” Silver said.
They want to put the statues at 77th Street and Central Park West and organizers believe last week’s ticker-tape parade for the U.S. women’s soccer team, plus the commitment to put a woman on the $10 bill, will only help.
“This is time. We live in the 21st century. This is absolutely the time to act,” Jenkins said.
The fundraising effort started in May and so far funds have been coming in at the rate of $10,000 a month. They’ll need to increase that by a factor of 10 in order hit their 2017 installation target, Young reported.
The group called “Central Park, Where are the Women?” needs to raise $1.5 million to pay for the statues and their perpetual care. Young was told city tax funds are not involved.