5. There is a Ralph Ellison Memorial in Riverside Park
Before he was a renowned writer, Ralph Ellison was a young man who wanted to move to New York to study sculpture and photography. After dropping out of the Tuskegee Institute, a young Ellison moved from his home in Oklahoma to live at 730 Riverside Drive in New York City’s Hamilton Heights. Ellison had always enjoyed literature growing up, and decided to pursue it instead of art when he came to the city. The famed writer won both the National Medal of Arts and the National Book Award, the former of which he won for his novel Invisible Man.
In 2003, sculptor Elizabeth Catlett created an Invisible Man statue in Riverside Park. Carlett met Ellison in the 1940s while working at the George Washington Carver School adult education program. The 15-foot statue is named for Ellison’s work and features a man’s silhouette carved into bronze. Catlett’s work was selected by a competition sponsored by the Riverside Park Fund and the Ralph Ellison Memorial Committee.