The Pulitzer Fountain
Situated in Manhattan's Grand Army Plaza and inspired by the fountains of Place de la Concorde, Paris, the Pulitzer Fountain is a grand structure created with money bequeathed by Joseph Pulitzer. It was designed by Thomas Hastings, a man who famously denounced skycrapers as 'bad style', and topped with a sculpture designed by Karl Bitter. It was dedicated in 1916, 'The Pulitzer Fountain'.
Who Was The Joseph Pulitzer Of Pulitzer Fountain Fame?
Pulitzer himself was a Hungarian-American newspaper titan and politician. He was born in Hungary in 1847 and emigrated to America at the age of 17 to fight for the Union. Once the Civil War was over he worked briefly in New Bedford for a whaling company before moving to New York City. Here, he slept in street wagons and was forced to sell his sole possession, a white handkerchief, for passage to Missouri.
In Missouri, he worked several menial jobs, whilst, in his free time, studying, learning English and playing chess in the local library. He was admitted to the bar and later found his feet as a reporter, going on to buy his own newspaper, the St Louis Dispatch. He developed an interest in politics and, after a brief stint as a Republican, joined the Democrat Party where he gained a reputation for campaigning against big business.
In 1883 he purchased the New York World newspaper and moved to New York. Under his guidance, the World shifted its focus towards short, provocative headlines in an attempt to gain broader appeal. The paper became a synthesis of entertainment and crusades for reform.
Over the years Pulitzer grew to be a prominent national figure. He was elected as a New York congressman and, when the Statue of Liberty was gifted in 1885, campaigned successfully for it to remain in the state.
In the early 1900s, he was forced to stand down from the World by poor health, but not before copping the phrase, 'every reporter is a hope, and every editor is a disappointment.' This has gone on to become something of an epigram for journalism.
He died in 1908 and, along with the Pulitzer Fountain, funded the renowned Pulitzer awards and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism with his bequeathments.
Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our Scavenger Hunts in NYC - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of NYC.
One More Thing...
The Pulitzer Fountain isn't the only US fountain to have been inspired by a historic French counterpart. Chicago's Buckingham Fountain was too, and by a fountain built for a French king no less.