by Kevin Walsh

THE General William Jenkins Worth Monument, on the triangle formed by Broadway, 5th Avenue, and 25th Street, not only is a memorial to the general (1794-1849), but is also his gravesite. It was created by sculptor James Batterson in 1857, when his remains were transferred here. The iron gate surrounding the obelisk is famed among cast-iron connoisseurs.

According to some accounts, General Worth was “egotistical, truculent and insulting”, although he commanded ably, having risen to the rank of captain during the War of 1812 as major in the Indian wars and as brigadier general in the Mexican War in 1846-1849. He died of cholera in 1849 in Texas: the city of Fort Worth was named for him. Though he did not die in battle, he is depicted on a bronze portrait on the obelisk with both his mount’s front hooves off the ground, a common depiction for heroic death in statuary code. Though Worth was from Hudson, NY and attended West Point and later commanded it, he is not especially connected with New York City. Yet, he is buried here, and a downtown street (Anthony Street) was renamed for him soon after his death.

Eons ago…well, 2005 or 2006…I was photographed for a portrait here during publicity for Forgotten New York The Book (2006, HarperCollins). Like my other portraits around this time, it was horrible and I forgot the publication in which it appeared. A publicist, not realizing I was on an email thread, once described me to a Time Out New York editor as appearing “almost human.” I wear my nonphotogenicity proudly.

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Mike Olshan May 13, 2023 - 9:09 pm

Does anyone else remember the building behind the monument was the Gilbert Hall of Science with its amazing science exhibits and fantastic electric train layout, the publicity center for the Chemistry Sets, Erector Sets and American Flyer model trains? And to the left, the Toy Industry building was where all the toy manufacturers had their showrooms!

Mike Olshan May 13, 2023 - 11:27 pm

My photo of you was a nice action shot of you speaking to a tour crowd in Coney Island and it appears on the back cover of your first book. I think
you look pretty good in that one.

andy May 14, 2023 - 8:52 am

The building in the background with the word “Porcelanosa” across the top was the Gilbert Hall of Science in the 1950s and 1960s. It was the New York outlet for The A. C. Gilbert Company, the namesake of its founder. AC Gilbert was a large American toy company, headquartered in New Haven, CT.
From Wikipedia: “Gilbert originated the Erector Set, which is a construction toy similar to Meccano in the rest of the world, and made chemistry sets, microscope kits, and a line of inexpensive reflector telescopes. In 1938, Gilbert purchased the American Flyer, a manufacturer of toy trains. The Gilbert Company struggled after the death of its founder in 1961 and went out of business in 1967. Its trademarks and toy lines were sold to other companies.”
As a youngster, I possessed Erector Sets and American Flyer Trains.

Full Wikipedia link:

redstaterefugee May 15, 2023 - 10:45 am

Andy: As Maurice Chevalier sang in the musical film “Gigi: “…yes, I remember it well”. In my childhood, I was the proud owner of a chemistry set, an erector set, & a beautiful American Flyer electric train set (featuring a replica of Raymond Lowey’s streamline steam locomotive in royal blue). What a great decade the “fabulous fifties” was: benign was beautiful public schools were learning environments, not indoctrination torture chambers.


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