West 59th Street at Columbus Circle
Manhattan New York
The Maine Monument commemorates the 260 American sailors who perished on February 15th,1898 when the USS Maine exploded while in harbor in Havana, Cuba. Though the cause of the explosion remains unknown, many (including popular New York City newspapers) blamed Spain for the attack.
The event was a catalyst that accelerated a diplomatic impasse between the United States and Spain, and the United States Congress declared war on Spain on April 25th, 1898. The war would last 8 months.
Newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst called for a public memorial to the Maine, and the sculpture was dedicated in 1913. The gilded bronze figures atop the pylon represent Columbia Triumphant leading a seashell chariot of three seahorses. They are said to be cast from metal recovered from the guns of the Maine itself.
This will not last.
Property is more precious than pigeons.
However, it comforts me to witness them just doing the best they can while lacking the original rock cliffs where, once upon a time long gone, they belonged. Today I listened to the report on climate change, "It’s bleak, y’all. The planet has already warmed by 1 degree Celsius. We’d actually passed that threshold right around the time of the Paris climate agreement in 2015."
Read this short Essay
In 1995, the Central Park Conservancy re-gilded the figures. Conservancy sculptors carved new pieces for missing part of the monument, and the stone was cleaned and pigeon-proofed. In 1997, the Conservancy restored Merchant's Gate and its surrounding landscape, transforming it into an inviting public plaza.
"Fossil evidence suggests the rock dove originated in southern Asia, and skeletal remains, unearthed in Israel, confirm its existence there for at least three-hundred thousand years. However, this species has such a long history with humans that it is impossible to identify the species' original range exactly."