For 50 years, two lovely granite ladies guarded the Brooklyn entrance to the Manhattan Bridge, but they were unceremoniously banished from their perch in the 1960s after Robert Moses deemed them a distraction. Late last month, the duo, "Miss Brooklyn" and "Miss Manhattan," returned in replica form, and have new features: they can spin and light up. Perhaps they can also receive new era-appropriate names? Ms. Brooklyn and Ms. Manhattan?
The original statues were sculpted by Daniel Chester French, the artist behind the Lincoln Memorial's Abe Lincoln statue and Columbia University's famed "Alma Mater." They currently live outside the Brooklyn Museum, but the new editions—designed by Brian Tolle, who is also responsible for the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park—have been hanging out on a pedestal above Flatbush Avenue and Tillary Street since December 21st. The project took 10 years to complete.
As with the originals, Tolle's statues are allegorical to their respective boroughs. Miss Brooklyn, holding a Roman tablet, sits next to a tree and a child with a book. Miss Manhattan has kicked her foot on top of a chest, and appears to have a pet peacock.
Unlike the originals, however, these works are cast in resin and slowly (very slowly) rotate like the regal Queens they are. And although Moses worried the statues would distract drivers, the city says the new renditions are out of the way and pose no danger.
"This will be something new, but you’ll see it from far away,” Wendy Feuer of the Department of Transportation told the Times, "so it’s not like you’re in a tunnel and coming out and suddenly come upon it. You’ll see it in the distance and then go by it."
You can see the statues from Flatbush Avenue Ext and Tillary in Brooklyn.