Grant’s Tomb was erected in 1897 and designed by John H. Duncan, who modeled it after Mausoleus’ tomb at Halicarnassus. In 1973, Pedro Silva and the City Arts Workshop created colorful mosaic benches, done by children, around the memorial’s plaza intended to beautify the site.
There is dispute whether the mosaics were all together helpful, or keep with the architectural integrity to the building. As Grant’s Tomb was descending into ”one of the least visited places in New York,” neighbors deflected graffiti and vandalism by creating what some call ”garish” mosaic benches. I think that the general, would not so readily dismiss them as a ”misguided” effort.
Published: April 27, 1997
To the Editor:
I was saddened to hear that the Park Service is eager to remove the mosaic benches (”Mosaic Benches Face Unseating at Grant’s Tomb,” March 30). I was one of the local children who helped create the mosaics (one of my earliest memories is working on the big yellow taxicab with my classmates from nursery school). It’s true that the mosaics were not part of the ”original intent,” but after decades in the neighborhood they have become a treasured part of our community. People relax on them, lovers cuddle on them, children run on them. Removing them would destroy the community work put into them and take away the humanity and color around an otherwise monotone and imposing monument. MIRANDA SCHWARTZ Morningside Heights