Bryant Park

Capital Projects

Restoring the William Cullen Bryant Monument

Intensive refurbishment leaves the park's main monument more beautiful than ever.

Jane Kratochvil

The William Cullen Bryant Monument on Bryant Park’s Upper Terrace is the park’s most prominent monument, which is only fitting, seeing that it honors the its namesake. Before the park’s reopening in 1992, the monument was actually shipped to Queens for a major overhaul, but since then has only received routine maintenance checks, which are a joint responsibility of Bryant Park and the NYC Parks Department. Those treatments include a thorough cleaning, polishing and, if needed, re-patinization.

However, over the years, the limestone supporting and surrounding the Bryant monument had sustained extensive damage from water, mold, and calcification, and the statue itself had become badly stained. Two years ago, we decided it needed a more intensive cleaning and repair treatment. We asked the Parks Department for assistance, and they sent a crew, augmented by students at Columbia University’s Landmarks Preservation Department, to work on it this summer.

Beginning in late June, the crew gave the entire monument a deep cleaning, picking out the mold and deposits by hand. They also repointed the limestone, and restored the bronze to its original luster. Some of the joints on the canopy over the statue were badly eroded and were given a permanent solution by the insertion of lead supports which will provide a long-term remedy.

The monument now looks spectacular. All that’s left to do is to restore the inscription at its base. The words have darkened, and the Parks Department is now looking into re-cutting the letters so they will pop. 

More from August 16, 2017

BRYANT PARK

Shop our exclusive line of Bryant Park merchandise at the Film Festival and Friday Picnics.

Early-morning Boot Camp sessions continue year-round in the park.

34TH STREET

New state-of-the-art Cornilleau tables have arrived at Plaza33, staffed with a friendly attendant from 3pm-7pm each weekday.

Herald and Greeley Squares both are home to fabulous food kiosks.

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