Don’t be surprised at the number of animals you might encounter when walking through NYC. They seem to be everywhere. Fortunately, they are not human but are pieces of artwork found in parks, squares and on buildings.
It can be a great adventure for younger people to see how many animals they can find within a certain distance – I am sure they might turn up some interesting ones. Here are some of my favorite ones.
Ape & Cat (at the Dance)
Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park, at the southern end of Battery Park City
Question: Can a feline and primate find love in the cold, harsh city? Apparently so: an inter-species affair is underway at Battery Park, where this sizable bronze commands attention next to the Hudson River.
Near Broadway Ave. and Beaver St.
What’s now a beloved icon for Wall Street originated as an act of guerrilla art by Arturo Di Modica, who left the bronze sculpture in front of the New York Stock Exchange shortly before Christmas 1989. Tipping the scales at 7,100 pounds and with a snout-to-tail length of 16 feet, the bull took two years to create. Tourists love it,rub it, and even ride it.
Central Park, near the Children’s Zoo entrance
High above the arches between the Children’s Zoo and the Wildlife Center in Central Park is a band of animals: a hippo violinist, a tambourine-wielding bear, a concertina-playing elephant, a horn-playing kangaroo, a goat with pipe, a penguin drummer, and two bronze monkeys sitting above the clock. Every hour, the animals circle and spin to nursery rhymes, or, during the winter, “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells.”
Just a stone’s throw away from the Delacorte Clock is one very happy bear.
This Dancing Bear is one-half of a footloose pair (the Dancing Goat sits at the zoo’s south entrance).
Carl Schurz Park, near E. 86th St. and East End Ave.
While Peter Pan isn’t technically an animal, the boy wonder is certainly friend to them all. The hero of lost young schoolboys everywhere casually sits with a fawn, a rabbit, and a toad. Originally the statue’s home was the Paramount Theater lobby in Times Square, but Peter & co. were moved to the Upper East Side’s Carl Schurz Park in 1975. A delicious, only-in-New York mystery occurred in 1998 when the entire statue went missing — and was later recovered at the bottom of the East River. Captain Hook remains at large.
Balto and Togo
Central Park, near the East Drive at 67th St.
Film fans may recognize this pup from the 1995 animated movie Balto, which depicted his heroic efforts leading a group of sled dogs “six hundred miles over rough ice across treacherous waters through arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the winter of 1925” (so says the plaque at his feet)
The bronze statue of Togo, located in Seward Park is less well known.But the part played by Togo, has been largely lost to history. Togo traveled in freezing temperatures, wind and darkness and carried the serum for over 90 miles and traveled more than 260 miles.
Group of Bears
Central Park, Pat Hoffman Friedman Playground at Fifth Ave. and 79th St.
Could there be more bears than pigeons in New York? One of the more recently created sculptures around is this one depicting three bears (sans Goldilocks), unveiled to the public in 1990. The bears have some esteemed origins — their sculptor Paul Manship most famously constructed Prometheus, that golden Titan given prominent placement outside 30 Rockefeller Center.
Riverside Park, near Riverside Drive and 91st St.
They may be considered one of the most ferocious animals in the world, but this pod of hippos at the children’s playground inRiverside Park seems downright domesticated.
Sutton Place Park, near 57th St. and the East Rive
This boar has been living at this postage-stamp-sized park since 1972. It was here that Woody Allen romance his best friend’s girlfriend here with views of the Queensboro Bridge (Manhattan 1979).
242 West 30th Street
The early 20th century loft buildings that crowd the streets of the Garment District feature some nifty surprises—like these two magnificent fox statues, which guard the entrance of 242 West 30th Street.
The following you may miss. The first is in Central Park, the second is at 114th Street and the remaining are at East 103rd Street.
The Panther on the hunt in Central Park
Central Park East Drive
Joggers and cyclists hurtling up East Drive near the Ramble are always mistaking this sculpture or the real thing. Perched on top of a steep hill at about 76th Street and looking like he’s ready to pounce, it’s a ferocious panther in bronze, officially titled “Still Hunt.”. Created in 1883, it’s one of the few sculptures in Central Park meant to look natural and blend in—which is why it has no plaque and makes passersby do a double take. Note: I am pretty sure that most park goers miss seeing this.
Alfred Lincoln Seligman Fountain (a.k.a. Bear and Faun)
Morningside Park, near the 114th St. entrance
This seven-foot tall statue in Morningside Park features a bear discovering a faun (that’s a man-goat hybrid) with musical pipes at his side — and even comes with a working water fountain. The faun looks surprisingly youthful, despite being nearly a century old. For the most endearing detail, check out the bear’s claws — his furry feet are sculpted with individual toes. Unfortunately it is further uptown than most visitors travel.