The History Behind the Two Revolving Statues on the Brooklyn Side of the Manhattan Bridge in NYC

NYC sightseeing guide Tommy Silk of Landmarks of New York explains the history behind the two revolving statues that sit on the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge.

As it turns out, the sculptures (Miss Manhattan and Miss Brooklyn) were placed on either side of the bridge in 1909, the date of the bridge’s opening. Due to concern about traffic patterns, transit boss Robert Moses determined that the statues needed to be removed. Luckily, the statues weren’t destroyed but instead displayed outside the Brooklyn Museum.

In 2017, sculptor Brian Tolle recreated the statues in resin and placed them atop a pole on Flatbush Avenue where they revolve day and night.

In 1961 Robert Moses ordered the demolition of the Brooklyn entrance to the Manhattan Bridge. Two allegorical sculptures representing Brooklyn and Manhattan were relocated to the Brooklyn Museum. In this project Tolle brings contemporary replicas of the figures cast in translucent fiberglass resin, close to their original site, where they spin in a perpetual dance above the street. 

Tolle stated that he wished to replace what had been removed from New York’s history.

The project addresses both the original loss and the cultural climate that allowed it. In 1961 these public art works were seen as an obstacle in the way of progress, but today urban designers are providing new and innovative places thus re-establishing the power of art in our cities public space

via swissmiss

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.