CHILDREN’S SCULPTURE GARDEN – a surprise in Harlem


We came to Amsterdam Ave Harlem looking for a recommended (thanks, Liza) Hungarian pastry shop, and planned to hop across the road to St John the Divine, ’the world’s largest gothic cathedral’. Is there anything in New York that isn’t the world’s biggest, tallest or most expensive?

The Hungarian pastry shop didn’t disappoint with the world’s largest sticky croissant. Across the way was a large fountain, maybe not the world’s largest but big enough anyway. I took the required shot. I’ll show it to you later.

It was only when we saw what was under it that things became really interesting.

Below the major work is a bronze rope on which are perched a number of miniature sculptures of animals. Each has been created by a child, any age from kindergarten to high school. The plaque tells us that in 1985 twenty-four sculptures by children, on the theme ‘Animals for Freedom’ were chosen to be cast in bronze and given permanent place in the garden.

More have been added in subsequent years.  Some are extremely well executed, others are simply charming. The artists are named on the plaque though it wasn’t easy to match them all to their works. They know who they are, and what a fillip it must be to any with serious artistic ambitions to have their work on public show for posterity.


Here’s the major sculpture in the middle…Saint Michael, surrounded by a lot of animals, chopping off the head of Satan and feeding it to a crab.
You only notice such details when you examine it closely. Let’s hope the children don’t.

Satan probably deserved it, but all the same…

But what a great idea the Children’s Sculpture Garden is, surely something which other places could easily emulate.

It’s also great to find out that Harlem is not at all grim and depressed these days.

And to finish on a cheerful note…here’s the Hungarian pastry shop croissant.


Filed under Art

9 responses to “CHILDREN’S SCULPTURE GARDEN – a surprise in Harlem

  1. I *love* those sculptures – what a marvelous idea! Those young artists must have felt so proud. Well-spotted!

  2. Wonderful sculptures, Richard. But I don’t fancy a sticky croissant, no matter how big it may be.

  3. I have missed this on my trips to New York….next time.

  4. Alan

    Is the Cathederal finished? – when I visited in 1983 locals called the Cathederal of St John the Unfinished.

    • No, he’s still unfinished, and may remain that way, Alan.

      And we’re not easily impressed by cathedrals (though we dutifully go into them all). We do prefer sculpture gardens – more unexpected treasures there.

  5. Pingback: Children's Sculpture Garden e Fontana della Pace a New York: le attrazioni che non ti aspetti

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