NYC - West Village: Christopher Park - Philip Henry Sheridan statue
A bronze statue by Joseph P. Pollia of General Philip H. Sheridan in Christopher Park honors he distinguished Civil War cavalry commander for whom the surrounding square was named in 1896; it is one of nine statues of Civil War generals in New York City parks. The monument was originally unveiled on October 19, 1936, the 72nd anniversary of General Sheridan’s heroic victory at the battle of Cedar Creek in the Shenandoah Valley. The Park is sometimes confused with nearby Sheridan Square Park because of the statue.
The larger-than-life statue depicts the officer in full army regalia, booted and spurred with a sword suspended at his side. Its granite pedestal includes the inscription attributed to General Ulysses S. Grant: “He belongs to the first rank of soldiers, not only of our country, but of the world.”
The land that is now Christopher Park was developed from 1633 to 1638 as a tobacco farm by Wouter Van Twiller, Director-General of New Netherland. Following Van Twiller's death, his land was divided into three farms: the Trinity Church and Elbert Herring farms to the south and Sir Peter Warren¡¦s farm to the north. Skinner Road was laid out along the line separating the Warren farm from the other two. This road was later renamed Christopher Street, honoring Charles Christopher Amos, an heir of a trustee to the Warren estate
Between 1789 and 1829, Christopher Street was subdivided into lots, and blocks were laid out along its length. Due to the irregular configuration of streets in Greenwich Village, blocks were not laid out according to a standard grid plan, and many oddly-shaped blocks were created. In the early 1800s, the population of Greenwich Village expanded dramatically, and the area around Christopher Street began to suffer from overcrowding. When a devastating fire tore through the area in 1835, residents petitioned the City to condemn a triangular block at the intersection of Christopher, Grove, and West 4th Streets and establish a much-needed open space on the site. On April 5, 1837 the City created Christopher Park.
Christopher Park, which is graced with a 130-year-old fence, contains two other monuments. The flagpole, erected in 1936, commemorates several of the 1861 Fire Zouaves, an elite Civil War unit that wore uniforms styled after North African tribesmen. George Segal's statue Gay Liberation, a duplicate of the one installed at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, was placed in Christopher Park in 1992.