Manhattan Bridge statues return to bridge entrance with LED lighting and rotation
‘Miss Brooklyn’ and ‘Miss Manhattan’ will return to the bridge’s Downtown Brooklyn entrance in replicated form
By Ameena Walker
It’s been more than 50 years since the two female figurations known as Miss Brooklyn and Miss Manhattan graced the Brooklyn entrance for the Manhattan Bridge. Both statues were plucked from their homestead by master city planner Robert Moses in the 1960s before being given a new home outside of the Brooklyn Museum. But at long last, the two gracious ladies have been replicated and returned to their original home, reports the New York Times (h/t Gothamist).
Artist Daniel Chester French, who is widely recognized for prominent statues that include the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, crafted the original statues of Manhattan and Brooklyn’s female personas. Back then, the two were stationary, but that won’t be the case this time around. Not only will Miss Brooklyn and Miss Manhattan light up via LED lights, both will slowly rotate in a full circle, getting the best panoramic view that a statue could have.
The process to get the statues was a lengthy one—10 years to be exact—that started with a design competition, won by Brian Tolle, who is also the artist behind Battery Park’s Irish Hunger Memorial, along with a $450,000 commission by the city’s Economic Development Corporation and the Percent for Art Program.
“This area, in its heyday, was a location for car dealerships and after that fell on hard times, with other uses and, honestly, a couple of triple-X uses. Now this is an area where people are living and using Flatbush and Tillary as a connection between neighborhoods, so installing this sculpture now comes at a great moment,” Downtown Brooklyn Partnership president Regina Myer told the Times.
And there’s no need to agree with Robert Moses’ original concerns of the statues being a distraction to drivers. They will be set back from the entrance so it’s something that drivers can view from a distance and pass by without the immediate shock, instead slowly fading into the distance.
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