Located just south of Strawberry Fields is a bronze sculpture perched atop a rocky cliff known as The Falconer. The male figure holds his right arm in a crook while his left arm extends for the graceful falcon with extended wings to land atop his fingers.
The Falconer was dedicated on May 31, 1875 after being commissioned by an Irish merchant who lived in New York City, George Kemp. Kemp commissioned British sculptor George Blackall Simonds to create a replica of a similar statue that Simonds had done that resided in Trieste, Italy. Simonds, an avid falconer himself, hailed from Reading, England where he was declared by the Reading Borough Library system as the winner of their 2005 ‘Great People of Reading’ poll. Simonds had this statue cast in Florence, Italy by Clemente Papi and a second replica was later cast to reside in Lynch Park (Beverly, Massachusetts).
Despite its rather isolated location atop a series of rocks, the Falconer has been the subject of multiple incidents of vandalism and wear-and-tear over the years. In 1937, the sculpture was feared to possibly fall off its perch and had to be restabilized. Twenty years later in 1957, the sculpture was the victim of vandalism inclusive of its falcon being stolen. A replacement falcon was added that year. Then, in 1982, another falcon had to be recast along with The Falconer’s left arm for replacement. Since then, the statue has thankfully had a more peaceful existence in the park. The sculpture was most recently restored and cleaned in 1995.
- Website: http://www.centralparknyc.org/visit/things-to-see/south-end/the-falconer.html
- Address: Central Park, New York City, NY (Mid-Park, South of 72nd Street)
- Cost: Free