A “masterpiece” sculpture has been unveiled in New York City that pays tribute to one of its most famous urban legends – alligators that live in the sewers.
The public art installation features a life-size crocodile on the back of a well cover and draws inspiration from what organizers called a “centuries-old myth”.
The legend suggests New Yorkers once abandoned baby alligators when they grew too big to keep as pets — where the story evolved into “tales of subterranean monsters” living in the city’s “underbelly,” officials said.
The bronze sculpture, called NYC Legend, was unveiled in Union Square Park by Swedish artist Alexander Klingspor and celebrates “New York City’s enduring ability to adapt and survive” — a quality “embodied by the alligator.”
Community organization Union Square Partnership said the piece was “inspired by the resilience of alligators and New Yorkers alike,” and the “magnificent” sculpture fuses ancient mythological symbolism with modern urban folklore.
Sir. Klingspor said, “Stories are the very backbone of human civilization, giving form to our collective consciousness through sculptures, paintings and architecture.
“This piece is a testament to our timeless quest to find icons in nature and to the bridge that myth builds between the ancient and the modern, which still resonates today.”
Anthony Perez of New York City Parks said, “This sculpture is a beautiful representation of our enduring resilience as New Yorkers and embodies one of the most famous urban legends of our city.
“Public art installations like this are one of the many ways we use our public parks to celebrate the stories and spirit that make our city so unique.
“I am so excited to see this sculpture take its place in iconic Union Square Park, where I am sure it will surprise and delight New Yorkers and visitors alike.”
The sculpture at one of Manhattan’s most popular destinations will be on display for eight months until June 2024.
Joseph Douek, a member of the NYC Planning Commission, said, “We take great pride in showcasing Klingspor’s masterpiece and hope for its permanent installation after the exhibition period.”