New York City has thousands of statues and plaques in parks and plazas honoring heroes, including hero dogs, legends and authors, from Joan of Arc and Alexander Hamilton to Jackie Robinson and Mahatma Gandhi. Usually, we pass them with merely a glance, without knowing the stories behind them.
A new project, Talking Statues hopes to change that.
Produced in collaboration with the NYC Parks Dept., this FREE app features well-known authors and actors telling brief bios of the person the statue honors, something about the artist who created the sculpture, and why the monument was put in that spot.
Currently, the project “talks” 35 sculptures, hopefully with plans to add more.
Information about Central Park long has been available on the park’s Monuments List page, including information about Balto, the dog credited with helping save the city of Nome, Alaska from a diptheria epidemic in 1925, by leading the dogsled team delivering life-saving medicine.
The world-famous Iditerod dogsled race each January in Alaska honors that original race for the cure. But I digress.
Talking Statues, produced in collaboration with the NYC Parks Department, was created by filmmaker David Peter Fox, who previously created similar projects for London, Copenhagen, Helsinki and other cities.
How Talking Statues Works
After downloading a QR scanner, look for a statue tagged with the Talking Statues sign.
Scan the code on the statue (or type in a URL, if you don’t have a scanner), and the statue will “call” you and tell its story.
Talking Statues includes the famous, such as Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, and the lesser-known, such Lajos Kossuth, a Hungarian politician whose statue is in Riverside Park.
Women’s stories include Harriet Tubman, Gertrude Stein, and the goddess Athena.
Talking Statues stories were written by best-selling authors including Authors like George Saunders and Terry McMillan, and voiced by actors including Hannibal’s Mads Mikkelsen, who portrays Hans Christen Andersen, author of so many timeless children’s stories.
Many of the stories weave in an immigrant theme, which is so central to the life and history of New York City.
What’s your favorite NYC statue or monument?