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Thread: Central Park Alice

  1. #1

    Default Central Park Alice

    These photos where taken in very different weather.

  2. #2


    Click image for larger version. 

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    I took this picture of Alice during the blizzard of 2003.

  3. #3


    Alice looks fantastic in the snow,but I suspect that the whole of Central park looks great in the snow.

  4. #4
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    When New York Snubbed Mary Poppins


    If things had turned out differently 45 years ago, Mark Bransdon might have been looking at a life-size statue of Mary Poppins in Central Park, a few steps from the familiar statues of Hans Christian Andersen and Alice, of “Alice in Wonderland.”

    But that is not what history had in mind, so Mr. Bransdon had traveled 9,992 miles to see if he could help rewrite it.

    He is the editor of Southern Highland News in Bowral, Australia, an hour south of Sydney, where people are campaigning to right the great 1966 Mary Poppins snub. They want to do what New York did not: Cast the statue and put it in a park. And since Central Park is still off limits — “No new statues in Central Park,” Adrian Benepe, the commissioner of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, declared last week — they have their eye on a park in Bowral. For that is where P.L. Travers, the author who created the world’s most famous nanny, lived for several years starting around 1910.

    Mr. Bransdon, in Manhattan for a break from 80-degree summer weather in Bowral, found the place where the statue might have gone if the project had not been killed almost as soon as it was announced in the fall of 1966. It was no Statue of Liberty: Where Lady Liberty holds the torch, Mary Poppins was to hold — what else? — her umbrella. In her other hand was her carpetbag.

    The parks commissioner at the time, Thomas P.F. Hoving, was quoted in The New York Times as saying that he did not remember the name of the sculptor. But interesting details spilled out: Miss Travers said she had posed for the sketch on tiptoe, “to get the balance right.”

    The reaction to the statue plan was, at best, mixed. One woman who saw the sketch complained that the face looked “too much like Julie Andrews,” who had played Mary Poppins a couple of years earlier in the movie version. On the editorial page, The Times called the statue “atrociously bad art” and said it could not “be rationalized by the fact that two other very bad statues already exist near by” — the Alice and Andersen statues.

    And so Mary Poppins never joined them.

    This sketch, which appeared in The New York Times in 1966,
    was of a life-sized statue of Mary Poppins that was to be sculptured
    for Central Park, until opponents derailed the effort.

    The current parks commissioner, Mr. Benepe, said his department had had a “pretty firm policy” against adding statues to Central Park.

    “That policy is still in effect,” he said. “We’ve had all manner of proposals for sculptures, and we’ve turned them all down.” Among them were “numerous offers” of statues of John Lennon.

    Mr. Benepe said the no-statue rule had historical roots. “The park’s original designers, Olmsted and Vaux, fought a losing battle against sculptures in the park,” he said. “They were afraid it would develop a cemetery-like feel with monuments all over. The monuments that were forced onto them, they clustered into one area along the mall, which developed the nickname the Literary Walk.”

    Mr. Bransdon has closely covered Bowral’s push for a Mary Poppins statue. Last year there was an umbrella mosaic, formed by 2,115 people in a giant silhouette. Television stations sent helicopters to capture it from above, and it won a listing from Guinness World Records. Paul McShane, an organizer of the statue campaign, said by e-mail that limited-edition statuettes had been sold to raise money for a life-size one.

    “The historical research,” Mr. McShane said, “has revealed a compelling case for Bowral’s claim to be considered the birthplace of Mary Poppins.” He said Miss Travers (or Helen Lyndon Goff, as she was known then) lived there before World War I and “published a story in a small paper featuring Mary Poppins putting children to bed” during that time.

    Mr. McShane said he and his daughter Melissa had gone through Miss Travers’s papers and discovered what Mr. Hoving said he had forgotten: The 1966 sketch was done by the British sculptor Sean Crampton, who died in 1999. (Miss Travers died in 1996. Mr. Hoving died in 2009.) He said the Bowral group had recruited the Australian sculptor Tanya Bartlett to turn the sketch into a statue.

    “We have to raise $100,000 to build the Bowral statue,” he said, suggesting that New Yorkers could help by staging an umbrella mosaic in Central Park.

    Of course, he said, for $175,000, two statues could be cast, and one could be shipped to New York — if only there were a place to put it.

  5. #5


    The Alice statue is ugly, but at least it is usable and therefore lovable. That Mary Poppins thing would have been a horror.

    IMHO the best statue in the park is this:

    From France 1850. 2 eagles eating a goat. And it is elegant and chic. From a distance it becomes an abstract modern.
    Last edited by Fabrizio; January 11th, 2012 at 05:25 PM.


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