The 95 foot tall white marble Soldiers and Sailors Monument was an addition to this area in 1902. It was dedicated on Memorial Day in honor of those New Yorkers who had dedicated their lives and fought so gallantly as part of the US Civil War. Originally New York did not have any serious plans or consideration for a Civil War monument until 1893 when it formed an association to begin to research the possibility. The committee held a public competition for the design of a memorial to be erected at the site of the Pulitzer Fountain over on the southeast corner of Central Park. This plan was later abandoned and the site was reconsidered to the current locale on the edge of Riverside Park. The winning design which was selected was titled, “Temple of Fame” and by Charles and Arthur Stoughton. The ornamentation which is so rich across the monument was actually done by the same man who designed the Ansonia hotel over on Broadway.
To describe the monument it largely resembles the famous Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens. This original Athens monument was created in approximately 355 B.C. and funded by a choregos (or public sponsor of theater) to award to the top performer. If you are familiar with the San Remo on Central Park West you may also recognize the shape and design as that situated atop each of its twin towers.
The rounded marble structure consists of twelve Corinthian pillars atop a large base and with a highly ornamented crown atop it. On this crown are a number of intricately carved eagles. Each of the pillars below contains the names of the New York regiments which fought in the Civl War and the battles they fought in.
Entrance to the interior of the monument is guarded via a large bronze door protected by a sculpted Gryffindor or monkey with wings. Visitors used to be able to enter the monument at all times but are now only open once annually at the Open house New York.
- Website: http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/riversidepark/highlights/12871
- Address: Intersection of Riverside Drive & West 89th Street (on the west side of Riverside Drive just inside of Riverside Park), New York City
- Cost: Free