2. Shakespeare Statue, Central Park
In 1864, a cornerstone was laid for a statue of Shakespeare in Central Park. It was done at the behest of a group of actors and theatre managers to commemorate the Bard’s tricentenary. A benefit performance of Julius Caesar was held on November 25, 1864, which over 2,000 people attended, to help subsidize the statue Central Park statue. What made this performance notable, in hindsight, was that it starred Junius Brutus Booth Jr., Edwin Booth (who founded the Player’s Club), and John Wilkes Booth, who would assassinate President Abraham Lincoln less than five months later.
It took until 1866 for a design competition to be held and for John Quincy Adams Ward to be selected as the sculptor and Jacob Wrey Mould designed the pedestal. The Literary Walk statue of Shakespeare was dedicated in 1872.