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New York City has over 1,000 monuments across the five boroughs, and the new NYC Public Art Map and Guide plots them on an interactive map. The digital interface, recently launched by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, is searchable by zip code and address, and includes both permanent and temporary installations.
Information about these monuments was already available on the NYC Parks site, but discovering the ones near you wasn’t easy. In the new map, I typed in the zip code for the Hyperallergic office and discovered that we’re walking distance from the Lithuanian Flyers Memorial, a 1950s tribute to “Darius and Girėnas who conquered the Atlantic: New York to Kaunas.” Further reading reveals that Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas attempted to fly nonstop from New York City to Lithuania. The feat had a successful Atlantic crossing, yet ended in a July 17, 1933 crash in Germany that killed them both. The monument features the fearless flyers in profile with a relief plaque by Bruno Mankowski.
There are countless other overlooked artworks to discover, such as Alan Sonfist’s 1978 “Time Landscape” in Greenwich Village, which uses plants to represent precolonial Manhattan, as well as some monuments that are older than the city itself, like a 120 CE marble column from Jordan in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. A handy guide to temporary work reveals such installations as Carole Eisner’s looping metals sculptures in Prospect Park and Chat Travieso’s solar-powered, sonic “Boogie Down Booth” at O’Neill Triangle in the Bronx. Other monuments marked on the interactive map are delightfully mundane. A seemingly unremarkable 1991 Central Park drinking fountain is emblazoned with the words “72 ST. MARATHONING AND PASTA CLUB” around the rim. And even that comes with a pretty interesting story, about a running group that dedicated itself not just to marathons, but to restoring the fountains and ecology of Central Park.
Making a good pair with the Discover NYC Landmarks map released earlier this year by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the NYC Public Art Map and Guide helps highlight the dense history of the city visible on the streets.
The NYC Public Art Map and Guide is available to explore online.