2. Columbus Park, Brooklyn
In Brooklyn’s Columbus Park, just next to Brooklyn Borough Hall is a Christopher Columbus statue by Emma Stebbins, a female artist relatively unknown today but was one of the foremost nineteenth-century American women sculptors. Though her most famous work is the Angel of the Waters statue on Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, Stebbins also sculpted Brooklyn’s statue of Columbus. The statue was commissioned around 1863 by Marshall O. Roberts, a merchant and art patron, and was Stebbin’s only life-sized work in marble.
According to Roberts, “Columbus is represented as standing upon the deck of a ship alone and at midnight, just before the land of the Western continent burst upon his view. His mutinous crew have all deserted him and are feasting below, while he-the intrepid discoverer with a firm grasp upon the rudder post, looks eagerly, anxiously forward, piercing the darkness with his eye of faith and with earnest prayers to heaven for success, waits for the dawning of the day which, coming at last, brings with it victory and repose.”
The statue was gifted to the City in 1869 and was supposed to be placed in Central Park under a protective glass housing. It was possibly erected Central Park for a time but was then removed and forgotten. In 1934, the statue was discovered in the 97th Street maintenance yard in Central Park. It was then erected in Columbus Park in Chinatown, where it remained until 1971 when it was reinstalled in Brooklyn’s Columbus Park.