Road Trip Close to Home: NYC parks that honor women who made historical impacts

New 12's Noëlle Lilley takes a tour of monuments in public parks dedicated to women, including one coming soon to Prospect Park.

News 12 Staff

Mar 3, 2022, 5:52 PM

Updated 834 days ago

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New 12's Noëlle Lilley takes a tour of monuments in public parks dedicated to women, including one coming soon to Prospect Park.
Since the founding of the United States, women have played a role in shaping the country we live in today. But they haven't always been recognized for it. The impact of women in history is something New Yorkers can see for themselves that's as easy as a walk in the park.
"We have a number of monuments both to women and women artists who created monuments, memorials and permanent works," explains Jennifer Lantzas, deputy director for Art & Antiquities.
The monuments can be seen in parks across the city, such as the Swing Low memorial dedicated to American abolitionist Harriet Tubman in Harlem.
"It's a stylized portrait of Harriet Tubman. And at the skirt, those are the faces of anonymous passengers on the Underground Railroad," says Lantzas.
The huge bronze statue sits at the corner of St. Nicholas Avenue and Frederick Douglass Boulevard and was created by African American sculptor Alison Saar in 2010.
Tubman was nicknamed "Moses" because after escaping slavery, she led numerous missions to rescue others.
Heading over to Riverside Park, former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt can be spotted. She is remembered for reshaping the role of the first lady when her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was president.
She was also the first presidential spouse to ever hold regular news conferences and was outspoken about civil rights for women and African Americans.
The monument was created by Penelope Jencks in 1996 and depicts Roosevelt holding her chin in thought.
Coming soon to Brooklyn in Prospect Park will be a memorial for Rep. Shirley Chisolm, the first African American woman elected to Congress.
"Shirley Chilsom had a huge impact on the Brooklyn community as a representative. It's an incredibly important location, so it kind of represents her broader impact not just on her local neighborhood but on the city as a whole," says Lantzas.
The Parks Department says the monuments are a way to inspire everyone across the gender spectrum.
The Shirley Chisholm statue doesn't have a completion date set yet, but it will be located at the parkside entrance of Prospect Park.


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