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Italian Heritage and Culture Month: A tour of Italian Statues in New York.
by Tiziano Dossena
Sep 30, 2012
The author visiting the Columbus Art Installation.
The author visiting the Columbus Art Installation.
October, in New York, is Italian Culture and Heritage Month. There are numerous activities in the city and in the immediate vicinities to celebrate this occurrence. Food, culture, fashion and movies are popularized for the benefit of whoever is interested, and it may sound preposterous that I am suggesting an additional activity, but the timing for it is absolutely perfect.

In the middle of our beautiful New York City, positioned at the southwest corner of Central Park, there is a well known plaza, Columbus Circle, bustling with traffic and tourists. In the middle of it stands a marble statue of Christopher Columbus, on top of a 70-feet high column (you can read more on this at:. )

It is, therefore, usually impossible to enjoy a close view of this massive statuary work, but for a short while that has changed. An interesting and challenging art installation by the Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi allows close contact with the statue. The artist has created a scaffold around the statuary, which consents a walk up six flights of stairs to meet Columbus, who is surrounded by a real living room, with sofas, pictures on the wall, and even a TV. The experience is unique, both for the close vision of the sculpture and the magnificent sights of Central Park, the Main Memorial (yes, it was designed and sculpted by an Italian American from the Bronx!) and the city streets that the position offers. Opening last week, the exhibit remains free to the public through Nov. 18. Tickets may be obtained on the website of the Public Arts Fund Organization (

If you are energetic enough after this excursion, you may walk a few blocks and visit a statue of another famous Italian, Dante Alighieri (you can read more on this at: ). It is located in the homonymous Square, right across Lincoln Center. It is a magnificent statue and it deserves a visit.

After this, since your ambitions may be running as high as your expectations, you may as well pay a visit to Verdi, who is further uptown, at 72nd Street, in a tiny park dedicated to him (you can find out more on this at: ).

This excursion may be taxing your feet, but it surely will satisfy any desire to verify Italian presence in New York through a visit to some of prominent Italian citizens’ statues that adorn the Big Apple (what a shame there is no statue of Vespucci, though!). It is Italian Heritage and Culture Month, after all; enjoy it.

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