4. Zuccotti Park Was Home to a Makeshift 9/11 Memorial
In 1982, John Seward Johnson II created Double Check, a bronze sculpture of a businessman bent over a briefcase and preparing for work. Johnson’s art has been both criticized and praised for its extremely realistic, everyday qualities.
During the September 11 attacks, the statue was allegedly mistaken for a man, and many people on the scene ran towards the statue to ask if it was alright. Photos of the statue covered in debris became iconic emblems of New Yorkers’ post-September 11 resilience, as the statue remained standing despite being heavily pummeled by shrapnel and became a symbol of strength and a memorial following the attacks. Many people placed flowers, candles and notes around the statue, and the very realism for which it had been previously criticized became a venerated icon.
During the Occupy Wall Street protests, the statue yet again became a symbol: protestors stuffed the briefcase with trash and tied a bandana around its head in order to denounce the capitalist society they believed the statue symbolized. Today, the statue has been moved to the corner of Liberty Street and Broadway, part of the One Liberty Plaza. The plaque next to the sculpture reads that it is “a symbol of hope and endurance for us all.”