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• Fitz-Greene Halleck: At the southern end of the Mall is an area commonly referred to as the Literary Walk, which features statues of famous writers. A romantic poet, Halleck was a popular author in the early-1800s. The bronze statue, created by James Wilson Alexander MacDonald in 1876, was dedicated in the park a year later by president Rutherford B. Hayes himself to a crowd of 10,000.
• Robert Burns: This statue of the 18th century Scottish national poet was created by Sir John Steel in 1880. The sculpture depicts Burns sitting on a tree stump, quill in hand, in the midst of writing another genius work of literature. At his feet rests a parchment showing a poem written to his love, Mary Campbell.
• Sir Walter Scott: This tribute to the Scottish writer was created by John Steell, installed in the park in 1872. A fiercely patriotic poet and novelist, Scott helped to attract tourists to beautiful Scotland. His statue shows him seated on a rock, pen in hand, his faithful dog lying next to him.
• Olmsted Flower Bed: This beautiful array of plantings is the only memorial to the park’s architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. Located at the bottom of the Mall, this circular array of annuals and perennials, shrubbery and towering elms is a lovely place to celebrate such a talented and inspiring architect.
• William Shakespeare: This famed English playwright resides at the very end of the Literary Walk, on the east side of the Olmsted Flower Bed, and in fact was the first sculpture placed on the Mall. In celebration of the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s 1564 birth, the sculpture was created by John Quincy Adams Ward and set up in the park in 1872.
• Christopher Columbus: The only non-literary figure on the Literary Walk is famed explorer Columbus. Standing across from Shakespeare, Columbus stares heavenward, one hand lifted in praise, the other respectfully holding a Spanish flag. At his feet is a globe placed atop a capstan wound with rope. The statue was created by Jeronmio Sunol in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of the New World, and presented in Central Park in 1894.
Enjoy Central Park’s Mall and Literary Walk, discovering the beauty of the city’s natural surroundings, as well as the great playwrights, poets and explorers that have impacted the diverse communities of New York City.
To follow more art tours of Central Park, click the links below:
North Central Park