Searching for NYC’s Monuments Dedicated to Women




Fearless Girl at her new home on Wall Street

With an outpouring of public sentiment wishing to have input into monuments citywide, and Women’s History Month upon us, Women.NYC and First Lady Chirlane McCray and former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen announced the next four monuments as part of She Built NYC, an initiative to honor the trailblazing women who have helped shape New York City while addressing the absence of female statue in our public realm.

The monuments will include Billie Holiday to be near Queen Borough Hall in Queens, Elizabeth Jennings Graham in the Vanderbilt Avenue Corridor near Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, Dr. Helen Rodríguez Trías at St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx, and Katherine Walker at the Staten Island Ferry Landing in Staten Island.

Artist selection for each of these monuments will begin by the end of 2019, with artist selection concluding in the first half of 2020. The monuments will be built throughout 2021 and 2022.

“Miss Billie Holiday is one of America’s greatest treasures. I want to thank First Lady Chirlane McCray and Former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen for honoring her. Musically she influenced almost every singer of jazz and popular music including Frank Sinatra. Ms. Holiday was not one to shy away from controversy, brilliantly singing Strange Fruit a song written about the horrific lynchings in the South. Lady Day will always be remembered for integrating white swing bands and taking a stand against racism in America. She deserves a place in history!” said Robin Bell-Steven, Director of Jazzmobile.

The four new monuments will be commissioned through the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art process, which requires that one percent of the budget for eligible City-funded construction projects be spent on public artwork. This inclusive process builds community engagement and input into the artist selection and artwork design process. The construction of these monuments will be funded through the $10 million the Department of Cultural Affairs has committed over the next four years to commissioning new permanent public monuments and commemorations.

Below are monuments dedicating women currently found in our parks and public places.

Installation for The Girl Puzzle in progress on Roosevelt Island. Image via

The sculptural installation known as The Girl Puzzle“,  invites the viewer to experience many facets of Nellie Bly’s talent, conviction and compassion. The ground-breaking journalist and women’s rights advocate exposed the horrors of the Blackwell Island Insane Asylum in 1887 on Roosevelt Island. This is a temporary art installation.


Gertrude Stein in Bryant Park

Gertrude Stein at Bryant Park

A monument to Gertrude Stein was installed in Bryant Park, right behind the New York Public Library, in 1992. Its placement reflects Stein’s significant literary contributions.  The seated bronze figure on a pedestal was created by sculptor artist Jo Davidson. The monument is one of five sculptures in this park.

(Included in New York Talking Statues)


Eleanor Roosevelt in Riverside Park

Eleanor Roosevelt monument at West 72nd Street

A monument to Eleanor Roosevelt stands in Riverside Park at 72nd Street and Riverside Drive. The bronze figure appears to be half-seated against a boulder. It was created by sculptor artist Penelope Jencks; the boulder and foot stone created by Michael Middleton.


Rockaway Women Veterans Monument

Image via NYC Parks Dept

Rockaway Women Veterans Monument dedicated in 1989 in recognition to all women who served their country in time of conflict. The bronze and granite sculpture was created by Eileen Barry and is located at Beach 94th and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, center mall, north side.


Golda Meir on Broadway

Golda Meir bust at Golda Meir Square, Broadway on East 39th Street

In 1984, a bronze sculpture of Golda Meir was unveiled in the Garment District. It was created by Philadelphia artist Beatrice Goldfine, commissioned by the JCC and the Golda Meir Memorial Committee, and is situated at Golda Meir Square, Broadway at East 39th Street.


Joan of Arc on Riverside Drive

Joan of Arc monument at Riverside Drive and West 93rd Street

A bronze monument to Joan of Arc sits high on a pedestal on 93rd Street and Riverside Drive. Dedicated in 1915, it was the creation of the eminent artist and art patron, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington.

(Included in New York Talking Statues)


Harriet Tubman in Harlem

Harriet Tubman Harlem

The sculpture, Swing Low, Harriet Tubman is located at the intersection of St. Nicholas Avenue and Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 122nd Street in Harlem. It was created by sculptor Alison Saar as a Percent for Art installation, dedicated in 2008.

(Included in New York Talking Statues)


Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett Fountain in The Conservatory Garden

This fountain honors children’s book author Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett. It is located in The Conservatory Garden of Central Park.


Fearless Girl on Wall Street

Fearless Girl at her new home on Wall Street, in view of Federal Hall

A bronze sculpture entitled Fearless Girl, created by sculpture artist Kristen Visbal and commissioned by State Street Global Advisors, recently made her move ~ original installed facing Charging Bull, now located on Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange, in view of Federal Hall (visible in the background in image above).


Goddess Athena in Astoria

Goddess Athena in Athens Square Park in Astoria, Queens. Image via

A standing figure of The Goddess Athena on a pedestal is located in Athens Square Park, 30th Street and 30th Avenue in Astoria, Queens, dedicated in 1998.

(Included in New York Talking Statues).


Susan B. Anthony + Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Literary Walk in 2020

Monumental Women’s Statue Fund has commissioned and endowed a monument in Central Park honoring pioneers in the battle for Woman Suffrage and the movement for women’s rights, scheduled for installation in 2020.


Shirley Chisholm coming to Prospect Park, Brooklyn

The slogan, “unbought and unbossed” appeared on Chisholm’s campaign posters, one of which resides in the collections of the National Museum of African American of History and Culture. (NMAAHC, Gift of Ellen Brooks)  Image via

A monument celebrating Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to serve in the House of Representatives, is coming to Prospect Park in 2020. It will be placed outside the Parkside entrance, located at the intersections of Parkside and Ocean Avenues. It will be built by She Built NYC, a city effort to expand representation of women in public art and monuments.

Check out the five final design proposals unveiled by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Percent for Art program, along with statements from the artists. Anticipated completion is the end of 2020.

Chisholm Trail by Tanda Francis


Chisholm Trail by La Vaughn Belle


By Mickalene Thomas


By Firelei Baez


By Amanda Williams & Olalekan Jeyifous


The Statue of Liberty (Lady Liberty)

Lady Liberty

The Statue of Liberty ~ Enlightening the World was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States, dedicated in 1886. It was designated as a National Monument in 1924 and is part of the National Park Service. The copper statue was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

Check out The New York Talking Statues Project here.