Parks Department Insists It’s Not Planning To Rip Out All The Animal Sculptures From NYC Playgrounds


What do hippos, dinosaurs, aardvarks, eagles, camels, whales and bears have in widespread? In addition to all being majestic creatures, they’re additionally beloved sculptures that reside in numerous parks and playgrounds round New York Metropolis. The sculptures have been put in by the Parks Division beginning within the Nineteen Eighties, and have since change into cherished items of town’s panorama for youngsters and adults alike. So naturally, individuals are not glad at any suggestion that they might change into endangered species.

The Brooklyn Paper reported as we speak that the Parks Division is perhaps planning to “mysteriously take away” the animal sculptures from numerous places across the metropolis, after a Parks Division architect mentioned the thought throughout a neighborhood board assembly earlier this month.

Nevertheless, the Parks Division tells Gothamist that there isn’t a such plan to take away the sculptures—solely to relocate them when playgrounds/parks are underneath building.

“Parks shouldn’t be eradicating all animal constructions from playgrounds/parks,” Parks spokesperson Crystal Howard informed Gothamist. “We’re discovering a house for these which might be eliminated as a consequence of building at websites, the plan continues to be being developed. No particulars have been decided.”

Howard added that there have been no particulars but about whether or not the sculptures will probably be completely relocated or simply quickly relocated.

Parks Division deputy design director Denise Mattes mentioned the thought at a CB10 assembly on March 4th whereas speaking about upcoming building at JJ Carty Playground in Bay Ridge and the standing of the whale sculpture there.

“The commissioner is definitely compiling all the animal artwork—the concrete animal options—that have been so well-loved, and that Commissioner [Henry] Stern made prevalent again in his day,” Mattes stated. “We’re really compiling areas for all of these [animals].” 

After attendees responded that they did not need the whale moved, and somebody prompt beginning a petition about it, Mattes responded, “We actually have an area, if it turns into a prevalent factor that must be saved, I actually can discover a spot for the whale.”

Later within the assembly, after discussing comparable renovations at Owl’s Head Park Playground and the doable removing of owl and horse sculptures there, attendee Marty Lentz commented, “I feel [the animal sculptures] are actually essential to attempt to protect as a result of they’re what make you already know that you simply’re in a New York Metropolis park. You see these and it connects you to the previous. Sure, the playground gear is dated, it wants an improve, however I would love individuals to see these relics from a distinct time preserved in any method which you can make occur.”

The animal sculptures are the work of former Parks Commissioner Stern, who insisted that each one playgrounds constructed or renovated throughout his two tenures as head of the Parks Division (1983-1990, 1994-2002) ought to characteristic not less than one animal-themed play sculpture. The Brooklyn Paper has some extra pleasant background on Stern’s love of animal structure, in addition to his insistence on flag placements in parks.

A photo of a bronze sculpture of bears by Paul Manship located at a Central Park playground at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street


A bronze sculpture of bears by Paul Manship situated at a Central Park playground at Fifth Avenue and 79th Road

Eddie Crimmins

This animal sculpture scare comes as one other metropolis company is wrapped up in a distinct controversy involving concrete mammals. A gaggle of 18 horses, often called “Nivola’s Horses,” have been faraway from the sculpture backyard on the Smart Towers NYCHA complicated on the Higher West Aspect lately. The concrete horses, which have been constructed in 1964 by the Italian modernist Costantino Nivola, have been a part of a push to have extra artwork inside public housing initiatives.

A NYCHA spokesperson informed the NY Occasions that they’d been eliminated due to an issue with the water predominant, they have been at the moment being saved contained in the Smart Towers, and that they “will probably be restored and highlighted” as half of a bigger venture on the Towers.