Posted on March 08, 2010
Now that Tim Burton’s big-screen version of “Alice in Wonderland” has officially opened, New Yorkers are going all out for Everything Alice. But as many New Yorkers already know, we’ve had a monument to Alice—literally--all along. Wander to the northern end of Conservatory Water (known to many people simply as the boat pond) around East 74th Street, and you’ll see what is perhaps the most famous and certainly the favorite Central Park sculpture of most kids, an homage to Alice in Wonderland. The statue was commissioned in 1959 by George Delacorte to honor his wife, Margarita. The design is taken from John Tenniel's original drawings for the first edition of the book. The bronze statue shows the well-known characters that populate the story: Alice, of course, surrounded by The March Hare, The Cheshire Cat, The White Rabbit, Alice’s cat Dinah, and the Dormouse. The sculptor, José de Creeft, included lines from Mrs. Delacorte’s favorite Lewis Carroll poem, “Jabberwocky,” around the base of the statue. The surface of the 11-foot-high sculpture has been worn down by the thousands of children who have climbed, scrambled and swung from it. Of course, if you’re looking for something a little more avant-garde, you can pop into almost any New York drugstore for a selection of one of the limited-edition lines of nail polish or makeup palettes that have been inspired by the film. And if you want to dine in “Alice” fashion, check out one of the three Alice’s Tea Cup restaurants/stores. (102 West 73rd Street; 212 799-3006; 156 East 64th Street; 212 486-9200; and 220 East 81st Street; 212 734-4TEA.) Their specialty? Tea, of course--with an equal dose of whimsy.