New York City's Iconic Statues And Monuments

| © Oleg Albinsky / Getty Images
Camille Fuller

With all of the hustle and bustle involved with navigating New York City, it’s easy to overlook the many points of historic beauty that line streets and dot parks. Statues and monuments can be found all over NYC, from huge landmarks such as the Columbus Circle monument to the picturesque sculptures that line 5th Avenue on the Upper East Side. Here are our top picks.

Loved by over 40s

The Sherman Monument

Riding valiantly on his trusted steed, William Tecumseh Sherman is immortalized in gold leaf at the Grand Army Plaza. New York City-based sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens created this magnificent work to commemorate the Civil War hero in 1903. The piece was constructed in two major cities: New York and Paris. General Sherman sits confidently atop his horse, while the personification of peace guides his path. Over the years, the Central Park Conservancy has worked tirelessly to preserve the monument, adding gold leaf back to the statue and coating it with protective pigmented waxes.


Standing 45 feet tall in front of Rockefeller Center, the Titan Atlas can be seen carrying the weight of the world. As the Greek myth goes, carrying the world on his shoulders was his eternal punishment for revolting against the Olympian gods. The bronze statue of this demigod was a collaborative project by Lee Lawrie and Rene Paul Chambellan in 1937. Lawrie envisaged and designed the art deco statue, while Chambellan modeled for the sketch. Atlas is one of many works of art that can be found at Rockefeller Center.

Lin Zexu

Lin Zexu has been a Chinatown star for almost two decades with his statue overlooking Chatham Square (also referred to as Kimlau Square) in Chinatown since 1997. The Fujian Qing Dynasty official stands on a pedestal with the inscription ‘Say No to Drugs’ in both English and Chinese. Perhaps this appears unconventional at first glance; however, it makes perfect sense given Zexu’s reign. Lin Zexu banned opium in China, kickstarting the 19th century’s Opium War. His monument was sculpted by Li Wei-Si.

Columbus Monument

Marking the epicenter of Columbus Circle at 59th Street is a 76-foot-tall monument to the notorious explorer Christopher Columbus, who ‘sailed the ocean blue’ in 1492. Columbus stands tall at the very top of a pedestal that overlooks a roundabout below, just at the foot of Central Park South. At the bottom of the monument stands the Genius of Exploration: a male angel scanning a globe. This Carrara marble monument was sculpted by Gaetano Russo, and it was erected in 1892 to honor the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s trip to the New World. Of course, this work wouldn’t be complete without Columbus’s famous ships: the Niña, Pinta, and Santa María, all of which are sculpted at the base of the monument. It is accompanied by a piece depicting Columbus and his men walking onto their ‘newly discovered’ soil.

Charging Bull

This iconic bronze sculpture is also known as the Bowling Green Bull, located in the Manhattan Financial District. Created by Italian artist Arturo Di Modica, this piece serves as a symbol for the inhabitants of the area. Like a bull, America is determined to succeed and overcome obstacles, so this piece embodies the perseverance of New Yorkers. The sculpture was initially placed at the New York Stock Exchange on December 15, 1989 under the NYC Christmas Tree. It caused quite a stir, later being removed by the NYSE. The Charging Bull eventually found its permeant home at the Bowling Green.

The Joan of Arc Memorial

French heroine Jeanne La Pucelle (also known as Joan of Arc) is gallantly sculpted in bronze in Manhattan’s Riverside Park. Dressed in armor and equipped with a sword, Saint Joan rides her horse to freedom. The New York Joan of Arc Monument Committee, formed in 1909, commissioned young artist Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington to sculpt the piece. Joan of Arc sits on a John Van Pelt pedestal comprised of Mohegan granite and blocks of limestone from the tower in Rouen, France, where she was confined. Completed in 1909, this monument illustrates her determination and the legacy she left behind.

Grand Central Terminal

This statue towers over the Grand Central Terminal entrance, and it’s easy to overlook as you rush to and from the station. It features Mercury in his winged hat to represent speed, Hercules representing strength, and Minerva representing wisdom. These figures watch over the thousands of commuters who enter and exit the station, daily. Just under Mercury is the largest Tiffany clock in the world, at 13 feet in diameter. This massive piece was designed by French sculptor Jules-Felix Coutan, and it took seven years to construct. To include a piece of Americana, Coutan installed a large eagle under Mercury.

Jan Karski

World War II warrior Jan Karski is eternally celebrated in Manhattan for his honorable actions. As a Polish liaison officer, Karski risked his life to inform the US about the Nazi concentration camps in Europe. Right outside of the Polish Consulate, Karski peacefully sits on a park bench with a cane in hand. As an expert chess player, it is only fitting that he is accompanied by a chess board. This monument was showcased in November 2007 on Poland’s Independence Day. The street on which he sits was renamed Jan Karski Corner.

Maine Monument

Located at the south end of Central Park, the Maine Monument features Columbia Triumphant as she rides her seashell chariot led by three sea horses, symbolizing the naval strength of the USA. Sculpted by Attilio Piccirilli, it was cast in 1912 using metal from the USS Maine guns that had survived. At the base of the monument one can find marble statues representing Courage, Fortitude, Justice, Peace, and Victory, as well as the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Harold Van Buren Magonigle served as the architect behind the project. The entire monument is a memorial for the 260 American sailors who lost their lives in the 1898 USS Maine ship explosion in Cuba; their names can be found on the pylon.

The General Grant National Memorial

Unofficially referred to as ‘Grant’s Tomb’, the General Grant National Memorial commemorates the 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. The tomb is where Grant was laid to rest, and it was completed in 1897 in Riverside Park. The tomb and memorial have been under the management of the National Park Service since 1958, and this memorial remains a highly-visited New York City landmark today.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.


Keen to explore the world?

Our passionately curated premium small-group trips are an invitation to connect with like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.