New York has no shortage of public statuary, though perhaps not so ubiquitous as in other cities: think of Buenos Aires’s various squares and Paris’s places. But, as any occasional visitor to the city can tell you, Shakespeare and Walter Scott are in Central Park, Bolívar and José Martí just outside it, and of course Columbus sits atop his eponymous circle’s column. And yet there is another notable sculpture within city limits that both tourists and habitués alike would find it difficult to name. But this forgotten monument is more than a mere commemorative objet. It is a metaphor for the city itself.

Ernst Herter, The Lorelei...

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