Oblivious to the pigeon perched on his head, a relaxed William Earl Dodge presides over the lunchtime crowd at Bryant Park.

No matter how rich or powerful you might be, 100 years after your death it’s anyone’s guess if anyone will still recognize your name. William Earl Dodge (1805-1883), the “Christian Merchant,” was a dry-goods manufacturer, a leader in copper and metals trade (Phelps Dodge Corporation), a civic leader, vocal opponent of slavery and an organizer of the Young Men’s Christian Association (the YMCA) and the National Temperance Society.

Originally in Herald Square in the triangle formed by Broadway, 6th Avenue and West 35th Street, John Quincy Adams Ward’s 1885 Dodge monument was moved to Bryant Park in 1941 to make way for the James Gordon Bennett Memorial “Bell Ringers Monument,” which itself was being moved from another part of town. At times, NYC can seem like a chessboard.

Bennett was president of the New York Herald.


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