NYC - Two Bridges: Alfred E. Smith Park
Alfred E. Smith Park, located at the junction of Catherine Slip, Madison, and South Streets, was dedicated on June 1, 1950. The park features a memorial to Governor Smith, who was also known as "The Happy Warrior," "The King of Oliver Street," and "The First Citizen."
Charles Keck designed the nine-foot bronze figure of the Governor and the bas-relief of children at play. The relief represents "The Sidewalks of New York," a song always played at Al Smith's campaign rallies. Paul Manship created the flagpole base decorated with animals native to New York before colonial settlement.
Alfred Emanuel Smith (1873-1944) was a great figure in New York State, New York City, and the Lower East Side. A son of Irish immigrants, Smith dropped out of St. James Parochial School to help support his family. However, his lack of formal education did not hinder Smith from becoming a renowned New York legislator and executive. In 1904 Smith was elected to his first government office as a Democratic member of the State Assembly. While serving on the Assembly, Smith co-chaired the Factory Investigating Commission with State Senator Robert F. Wagner. Together they investigated labor conditions and passed laws to raise safety standards and limit work hours. In 1917 Smith was elected President of the Board of Aldermen. In 1918 he was elected the first Irish Catholic Governor of New York, a position he held for four two-year terms. A loyal supporter of improvements to the Lower East Side which he called "the old neighborhood"-Smith sponsored legislation for rent control, tenant protection, and low-cost housing. As Governor, he appointed Robert Moses as Chairman of the New York State Council on Parks in 1924, and as Secretary of State in 1927. Smith made history in 1928 as the first Irish Catholic to be nominated for President. He ran as the Democratic nominee but lost the election to Herbert Hoover.