7. General Jose de San Martin, Central Park

The 1950 statue of General Jose de San Martin was a gift of the City of Tucuman (or alternatively Buenos Aires). San Martin aided Argentina, Chile, and Peru in gaining independence from Spain. The statue was given in reciprocity for a statue of George Washington that the people of North America had given to the City of Buenos Aires a few years earlier. The statue of San Martin is a replica of Louis Joesph Daumas’ 1862 statue of San Martin, located in Buenos Aires.

The statue was fabricated in Argentina and shipped to New York aboard the Rio Chico. However, once it arrived in New York, the statue remained in limbo first at the pier and then in an unopened crate in a warehouse in Central Park because Mayor O’Dwyer was having issues convincing the Board of Estimates to appropriate the funds to erect the statue. Its placement at the foot of Central Park led to infighting between Robert Moses, then Parks Commissioner, and City officials. Its location was aided by pressure from the State Department, which urged the City to place the statue in a prime location to aid Pan-American relations.