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Daytime in the Garden of Good and Evil

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St. John the Divine Cathedral with the Peace Fountain in the forefront

Far up the island on Manhattan, adjacent to the ornate and ominous St. John the Divine Cathedral, stone creatures worthy of a Grimm fairytale loom impressively atop a giant pedestal. Dwarfed by the impressive church, the Peace Fountain of the People’s Garden may not look like much, but on closer inspection, there’s more to it than meets the eye, mind and soul.

Chiseled to life in 1985 by sculptor Greg Wyatt, the statue symbolizes the struggle between good and evil, the latter being vanquished by the Archangel Michael. Circling the work of divine art, a random passerby may dismiss the secondary characters below and surrounding the winged Saint, but they are just as, if not more, important.

As the plaque nearby reads, the animals present in the scene signify a peaceful end of the battle between Heaven and Hell: Nine giraffes, animals of peace and innocence, are lovingly carved, while a lion and lamb coexist happily, harkening to the bible’s depiction of God’s Kingdom. Close by, the sun and the moon mirror one another facing east and west respectively, continuing the theme of life’s opposing forces. The crab crushed beneath the pedestal shows life’s origins from the sea, as well as its struggle to thrive.

Peace Fountain in the People's Garden

 A particularly prominent and grotesque sight hangs just below the freedom pedestal, a head frozen in agony and defeat. The decapitated body of Satan, conquered by the almighty sword of St. Michael, slithers down toward the statue’s base, where an observer can imagine water swirling in a primordial vortex that is the chaos and beginnings of Earth.

The small courtyard circling the fountain displays several tinier plaques, inscribed upon are the quotes by the world’s greatest and notable philosophers such as Gandhi, Socrates and Einstein. There is even a sole plaque devoted to John Lennon and has imprinted in its stone face verses from his song, “Imagine.” Hiding among the bushes on the opposite side of the plaza are smaller statues of knights, horses and other lore-like characters. Each was designed by an elementary school student and featured in the People’s Garden, otherwise now known as the Children’s Garden.

On my search for the elusive Peace Fountain due to its many monikers, I came across Kathika Travel Blog’s Beautiful Fountains from Across the World. Simply stunning.

Child's Statue Beside The Peace Fountain


Written by Robin Lee Dunlap

February 24, 2010 at 6:24 am

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