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Striking New Monument Unveiled On Roosevelt Island

Patch logo Patch 12/10/2021 Nick Garber
Titled "The Girl Puzzle Monument Honoring Nellie Bly​," the monument is now open at Lighthouse Park on the northern tip of the island. It is reportedly​ visible from Carl Schurz Park, sitting right across the East River. © Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul Titled "The Girl Puzzle Monument Honoring Nellie Bly​," the monument is now open at Lighthouse Park on the northern tip of the island. It is reportedly​ visible from Carl Schurz Park, sitting right across the East River.

ROOSEVELT ISLAND, NY — A striking new work of public art has appeared on Roosevelt Island, noteworthy both for its appearance and its status as one of the startlingly few monuments to women anywhere in the nation.

Titled "The Girl Puzzle Monument Honoring Nellie Bly," the monument is now open at Lighthouse Park on the northern tip of the island. It is reportedly visible from Carl Schurz Park, sitting right across the East River.

The work by artist Amanda Matthews consists of five enormous bronze faces depicting Bly, the legendary journalist, plus four others representing Black, Asian American, old, young, and queer women.

Bly is the work's main subject due in part to her brief residence on Roosevelt Island, then known as Blackwell's Island. In 1887, Bly famously faked insanity in order to be institutionalized at the island's Women's Lunatic Asylum, where her reporting confirmed rumors of severe neglect and spurred reforms.

(Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul) © Provided by Patch (Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul)

The sculpture was unveiled Friday to coincide with Human Rights Day. According to organizers, fewer than eight percent of the nation's statues represent women, meaning Bly is making history once again.


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Parts of the asylum where Bly was housed still remain: its main entrance, known as the Octagon, is still standing, now attached to a luxury apartment building.

"As the first woman to ever serve as Governor of the State of New York, I'm proud to lead the state that was the birthplace of the fight for women's rights," said Gov. Hochul in a statement announcing the monument's opening on Friday.

"This monument, with its five faces representing the broad diversity of so many women, will provide a poignant educational and meaningful destination for visitors to reflect on our shared history and remember that women's rights are human rights."

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