6. Giovanni da Verrazano

Also on the long list of Battery monuments is one dedicated to the Italian explorer and navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano. In 1524, Verrazano became the first European known to have entered New York Bay on his journey along the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada. Amid 300th anniversary celebrations in 1909 of Henry Hudson’s voyage up his eponymous river, Italian-Americans felt that Verrazano was not getting his due. Carlo Barsotti, the editor of Italian language newspaper Il Progresso, launched a subscription campaign to raise money for a sculpture to Verrazzano. Italian sculptor Ettore Ximenes agreed to donate his time.

The statue was unveiled on October 6, 1909 at the tip of Battery Park, in what is now known as the Battery Lawn. There was also a time capsule buried underneath the statue which contained coins from four countries, bronze medallions, and documents. The statue is made up of a 5-foot tall bronze bust of the explorer set atop an elaborate granite pedestal with side volutes and a bronze female allegorical figure representing discovery. An inscription on the east side of the pedestal reads: “For the sake of historical truth and justice, this monument was erected by Il Progresso Italo-Americano, edited by Carlo Barsotti, with the support of the Italians resident in New York, 6 October 1909.” Other inscriptions tell of Verrazzano’s exploratory achievements.

In the early 1940s, Verrazzano was removed to make way for construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. In 1949, Italian immigrant John N. LaCorte founded the Italian Historical Society of America to improve the image of Italian-Americans and made the restoration and reinstallation of the Verrazano sculpture one of his main goals. By the 1950s, the statue was fixed up and re-erected near the center of the park.

Want to learn more about New York City’s maritime history? Join us for an upcoming Maritime History Tour where you will get to see and learn more about the The Battery and South Street Seaport memorials mentioned in this list. Read on to discover more maritime related memorials in NYC!

Tour of NYC’s Maritime History