Bonus: Pyramid of German Helmets on Park Avenue
A pyramid of 85,000 German army helmets from WWI. Photo via Smithsonian Institution, in public domain.
In 1919, Park Avenue was the home of two enormous pyramids made of German army helmets. 85,000 German army helmets, to be exact. After the Allies won the First World War, American soldiers captured the helmets in a supply depot in Europe and brought them back to the States. Then the American government displayed them outside Grand Central Terminal to convince New Yorkers flush with pride to buy war bonds. German helmets were also awarded as prizes to government workers who successfully sold the bonds.
A typed label on the back of this photograph reads: “View of the employees of the New York Central / Railroad, assembled in Victory Way, showing the pyramid of captured / German helmets, with Grand Central Terminal in / the background.”
Kevin C. Fitzpatrick is the author World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War (Globe Pequot Press). He has written and edited seven books tied to New York City history. He is also a licensed sightseeing guide, and a member of the World War I Centennial Committee for New York City and The Lambs. Visit FitzpatrickAuthor.com.
Next, also check out Five NYC Avenues, Five Wards 1776 to 1965.