Fort Greene to city: Rotate this statue!

The Brooklyn Paper
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Fort Greene’s Civil War hero must do an about-face if he wants to fit in with the neighborhood, some residents say.

Martin Horowitz is urging the city to rotate a statue of Gen. Edward Fowler about 90 degrees so that he’ll properly greet oncoming traffic from his perch at the intersection of Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street.

Right now, the Civil War hero lovingly called “Dear Old Ned” looks straight at Frank’s Cocktail Lounge and an adjacent empty lot. In the summer, his head is hidden in the trees, making it hard for passersby to pay tribute to the namesake of the tiny green space known as Fowler Square.

“It may sound frivolous, but there’s something wrong with the way the statue is faced,” said Horowitz, who has lived near the general’s effigy for almost 40 years and wants to see the statue turned to look out toward Downtown.

“It’s idiotic, and I thought so from the beginning.”

The bronze likeness of the Bull Run and Gettysburg fighter originally stood in Fort Greene Park, before vandals forced the city to put him in storage sometime in the 1960s. A decade later, community members rallied to install the statue at the triangle park, which was then known as Lafayette Square.

Fort Greene activist Ruth Goldstein said that city officials thought Gen. Fowler would face the most traffic and sunlight in his current position. At the time, residents didn’t oppose the statue’s orientation because they were happy the city was trying to transform an asphalt no-man’s land where drugs and prostitution ran rampant into a plaza, she claims.

“He would look better facing the apex of the triangle today, to be a greeter for the neighborho­od,” she said.

The city is planning on giving the brigadier swanky new digs, thanks to a controversial proposal that would close one block of S. Elliott Place to traffic, potentially bolstering Fowler Square’s appeal as a pedestrian plaza.

But a Parks Department spokeswoman said city has no plans to rotate Gen. Fowler, claiming such work could damage the statue or its pedestal.

“Changing a statue’s orientation is quite a bit more complicated and costly than people might think,” she said.

This isn’t the first time locals have rallied for statuary U-turns. Last fall, historian Richard Kessler was outraged that a 140-year-old statue of Abraham Lincoln would be installed in Grand Army Plaza facing the “wrong” way: south.

Horowitz believes turning Fowler is a “common sense” campaign worth waging.

“I don’t think it’s all that silly,” he said. “You can’t even see the guy.”

Reach Kate Briquelet at or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.
Updated 5:30 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

sean from crown hts N. says:
How about the grant statue at Dean and Bedford/Rogers. The heavy traffic rolling through that intersection is greeted by a horses behind.
Feb. 22, 2012, 8:44 am
wednesday says:
more stupidity. this is what happens when you're high most of the time, have entirely too much time on your hands and an unlimited access to money
Feb. 22, 2012, 10:49 am
Fuzzbee from Prospect height says:
this is a OUTRAGOUS! he is the general of the fighting men and should be an honor>>!! they should make him be turn around a whole 300 and 60 degreys for the being bravery all the time-AROUND here!!!!
Feb. 22, 2012, 11:14 am
common sense from bay ridge says:
The General is facing south, in the direction of the Confederacy. As he should be.
Feb. 22, 2012, 11:29 am
Richard Grayson from Apache Junction, Ariz. says:
@Fuzzbee from "Prospect height" [sic]:

If they turned the statue around 360 degrees, he would be facing the exact same way he started out facing. Back to 10th grade geometry!
Feb. 22, 2012, 12:43 pm
Fuzzbee from Prospect height says:
that is GOD truth ALL THE TIME!!!! he was a man from the NORTHE' and he cant get shot in the back from the SOUTHERN jerks around here -ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY!!!!!
Feb. 22, 2012, 1:41 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
He should turn 360 degrees one way then 360 the other all day long.
Feb. 22, 2012, 2:10 pm
Fuzzbee from Prospect height says:
mike is YES on this tropic! and make a BIG PONY run around and have tacos and MANY BALLOONS all day long!!!!
Feb. 22, 2012, 2:13 pm
Miguel Carraway from Clinton Hill says:
If you really want to wisely spend taxpayer dollars then the only sensible solution would be to build a rotating pedestal so the general is constantly in motion.
Feb. 22, 2012, 3:04 pm
Matt from Downtown BK says:
This is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. As some have mentioned, he is supposed to be facing SOUTH. Any statue of a military figure will face the direction from which his/her "enemy" most likely comes from.
Feb. 22, 2012, 4:15 pm
Sondra from Midwood says:
My question is: why is a "triangle park" is known as "Fowler SQUARE"?
Feb. 23, 2012, 1:27 pm
busby from bedford stuypheasant says:
they should make 4 him statues! He face east west south and north so he can be ready when the terrorizors come from all ways. just like Braveheart King did to Mel Gibson's butt!
Feb. 23, 2012, 2:40 pm
Fuzbee from Prospect Heights says:
Dis statue so old, when are we going to get one of Beyoncé?
Feb. 24, 2012, 6:33 pm
peter nolan smith from fort greene says:
the general is facing in the direction where he once lived and to the south as is befitting all northern soldiers of the War Between The States. Changing the direction is a sacrilege to his honor.
Oct. 27, 2013, 10:49 am

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