Grand Army Plaza (Manhattan)

Grand Army Plaza is a square at the southeast corner of Central Park in Manhattan, New York City, at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South (59th Street), covering two blocks on the west side of Fifth Avenue between 58th and 60th Streets. It contains an equestrian statue of William Tecumseh Sherman on its northern half and Pulitzer Fountain on its southern half.

Grand Army Plaza was designed by Beaux-Arts architecture firm Carrère and Hastings and completed in 1916. It was renovated in 1933–1935, in 1985 and in 2013. The plaza has been a New York City designated landmark since 1974.


The plaza is bounded on the north by 60th Street, which contains the Scholar's Gate entrance to Central Park; on the west by Central Park and the Plaza Hotel; on the south by 58th Street, which contains the Bergdorf Goodman department store on the site of the Cornelius Vanderbilt II House; and on the east by Fifth Avenue, which contains an Apple Store and the General Motors Building.

The centerpiece of the plaza's northern half (carved out of the southeastern corner of Central Park), is the equestrian statue of William Tecumseh Sherman sculpted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens,[1] while the principal feature of the plaza's southern half is the Pulitzer Fountain, topped with a bronze statue of the Roman goddess Pomona sculpted by Karl Bitter.


Original design

The idea for a unified treatment of the plaza was first proposed by Karl Bitter in 1898.

The newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer died in 1911 having bequeathed $50,000 for the creation of a memorial fountain to be "like those in the Place de la Concorde, Paris, France."[2] In December 1912, the executors of Pulitzer's estate announced that New York City had approved the fountain's proposed location, in the plaza between 58th Street and 60th Street, just west of Fifth Avenue, the same plaza where the equestrian Sherman Monument stood since 1903. The executors invited five architecture firms to participate in a competition to determine the fountain's design, and to provide designs for a "good architectural treatment of the whole plaza." [3]

In January 1913, the five schemes were exhibited at the New York Public Library Main Branch, including the winning scheme, designed by Carrère and Hastings. Architect Thomas Hasting's design placed the fountain in the southern half of the plaza, whereas the Sherman Monument remained in the northern half (but moved fifteen feet west to be symmetrically opposite the fountain). Construction of the new plaza began in 1915, and by November one newspaper reported: "The Pulitzer now finished and bubbling with the purest Croton water," noting that work on the northern portion of the plaza was delayed by subway construction.[4]

The current layout was designed by Beaux-Arts architecture firm Carrère and Hastings and completed in 1916. The New York City Board of Aldermen named it Grand Army Plaza in 1923[5] after the Grand Army of the Potomac.[6]

Renovations and landmark designation

In 1933, Herbert, Joseph and Ralph, sons of Joseph Pulitzer, donated $35,000 for the restoration of the Pulitzer Fountain, done under the supervision of architect Dan Everett Waid. The work, delayed by labor troubles, was completed by June 1935.[7] As part of the work, the limestone basin was rebuilt in Italian marble, and the plaza's limestone balustrade and columns that surrounded the fountain were demolished.[8]

On May 30, 1974, the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing to consider designation of the Grand Army Plaza, including the Pulitzer Fountain and Sherman Monument, as a Scenic Landmark. The measure was approved on July 23, 1974.[9]

On March 26, 1985, the Central Park Conservancy and the architecture firm of Buttrick White & Burtis presented plans to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for a full restoration of the plaza, including the Pulitzer Fountain. The plans called for the restoration of the balustrade and columns removed in the 1935 repairs.[10] The work was completed in June 1990, including a reconstruction of the fountain, this time in granite. Plans to restore the balustrade and columns were abandoned on account of costs. The New York Times wrote: "For years this fountain merely dripped and dribbled, but now it cascades, and that makes all the difference, for now the Pulitzer Fountain has a sound." The restoration work included a re-gilding of the Sherman Monument.[11]

The plaza was renewed again in 2013, including a re-gilding of the statue of William Tecumseh Sherman.[12]


  1. Central Park Conservancy Grand Army Plaza
  2. Landmark Preservation Commission (July 23, 1974). "LP-0860" (PDF). NYC Landmark Designation Reports. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  3. The New York Times, December 22, 1912.
  4. Chicago Daily Tribune, November 7, 1915.
  5. Landmark Preservation Commission (July 23, 1974). "LP-0860" (PDF). NYC Landmark Designation Reports. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  6. "Grand Army Plaza". Central Park Conservancy. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  7. The New York Times, June 14, 1935.
  8. The New York Times, May 8, 1935.
  9. Landmark Preservation Commission (July 23, 1974). "LP-0860" (PDF). NYC Landmark Designation Reports. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  10. Purnick, Joyce (March 27, 1985). "FOR A HISTORIC PLAZA, PEARS AND LIMES?". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  11. Goldberger, Paul (June 28, 1990). "Review/Architecture; A Restored Grand Army Plaza, With a New Coat for the General". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  12. Dunlap, David (June 18, 2013). "It's General Sherman's Time to Shine, but Not Too Much". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
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