New Prospect: City unveils winning design for massive Shirley Chisholm Memorial in Prospect Park

Larger than life: Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous’ winning design for a Prospect Park memorial to honor Shirley Chisholm, the nation’s first black Congresswoman.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Municipal design gurus announced the winning design for a Prospect Park Memorial to Kings County Trailblazer Shirley Chisholm on Wednesday.

City design experts chose artistic duo Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous’s design due to its striking portrayal of the nation’s first black Congresswoman looming large over the US Capitol Building, according to city’s chief culture honcho said.

“Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous have put forward a fittingly bold vision for how to honor the remarkable Shirley Chisholm,” said city Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “Next year, New York City will have a new monument that is as multifaceted as Chisholm herself.“

The massive, 40-foot tall yellow and green image of the late, Brooklyn-born legislator will rise conspicuously above the Parkside Avenue entrance to Brooklyn’s backyard, which itself is being renovated as part of a larger $9.5 million project to improve the park’s perimeter along Ocean and Parkside avenues.

The winning team beat four other finalists for the opportunity to make a permanent mark on Prospect Park following an open call for artists announced in December, and — while the city gave locals four days to submit comments on the five design proposals in March — a closed panel of experts hailing from the Percent for Art program made the final call to go with Williams and Jeyifous.

But park patrons still have an opportunity to affect the memorial’s final design through local community boards, which will hear from the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs in the coming months, although a spokesman for the agency could not immediately say which boards would get a vote, or when.

The She Built NYC initiative that spawned the Chisholm memorial project was created on the suggestion of the Mayoral Monuments Commission, which Mayor Bill de Blasio convened following the riots that plagued Charlottesville in 2017 amid a proposal by that city’s government to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Posted 12:00 am, April 25, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Wilbur D. Horse from Anytown says:
I hate to say this, but the statue looks like Jimi Hendrix.
April 25, 6:21 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
My late wife used to tell about sitting next to Shirley as she flew to Buffalo..she was a lovely woman(both of them) and deserves the statute..
April 25, 9:13 am
K from ArKady says:
Yellow haze, all on my brain, lately things, don't seem the same. Acting up, and I know why, 'scuse me, while I demand my rights!
April 25, 10:46 am
treerapper from Brooklyn Heights says:
Wonder how many trees they will cut down to accomplish this? Shirley would not be happy if this is how they will celebrate her and her wonderful approach to life.
April 25, 11:12 am
treewrapper says:
According to the air photo on Google Map, no trees will be cut down. Ya know, the internet is a wonderful thing and has answers to many of the questions people wonder about ... if they only take the time to look.
April 25, 12:56 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Seriously. How many trees will they cut down? If you don't know the location, take 12 seconds to find out about it before making both stupid and intentionally inflammatory remarks.
April 25, 1:06 pm
Someone in from Flatbush says:
I love the idea of recognizing Shirley Chisolm but this design is hideous and will overwhelm the corner of Ocean & Parkside.
April 25, 9:03 pm
Sayitisntso from Bay Ridge says:
If that's the winning design..I'd hate to see the ones that lost.
April 26, 4:20 am
K. from ArKady says:
I think it quite nice. What it's not is a classical Greek statue. While I'd enjoy that, this probably hits closer to the mark in terms of representing the historical figure. Look at the whitehouse portrait of Barack Obama and you'll see some of the same kind of thinking. It works surprisingly well. What I like about the piece in particular is the use of anamorphic design to give it markedly different looks depending on your point of view. That's not at all clear in the renderings, unfortunately. But it does address the "overwhelming" issue mentioned above, you've got to look at it from just this spot to get the looming effect.
April 26, 11:01 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Couldn't they just have something simple instead?
April 26, 11:52 am
Go back to Pleasantville, retardooo says:
Tal Barzilai, They should have designed it to look like you. You're quite simple.
April 26, 4:29 pm
Joe from Greenpoint says:
It looks ghetto.
April 27, 11:03 am
Who in the ignoramus that chose this design. It is the ugliest most hideous looking item to honor this woman. How about real a statue with a real plaque and explanation of who she was. Not something out of an alien sci-fi movie. Ahhh. I know now,you did not want to offend the LEFT who by the way are usually most of the time wrong. The more I look at it, it does not grow on me. Get rid of this idea and start all over again. Oh, and by the way you can look at the other wonderful statues throughout the city to see what a statue really looks like. Oops, I am sorry you removed those because you did not like them. Signed, IAMRIGHTAGAIN
April 27, 12:03 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
To answer the person who has to use multiple names in order to attack me, I do give my condolences to Shirley Chisholm, but I don't think her memorial needs to be that lavishing. I feel something simple will do just that trick. Also, making a memorial like that not only feels very overrated, but probably expensive as well. Now I know why I never supported the memorial such as the Reflecting Absence over at the WTC site and wanted the Twin Towers rebuilt there with a more simple and appropriate memorial instead. On a side note, I never said I wanted a memorial with my image on it, just you did.
April 27, 1 pm
N Shean from Manhattan says:
The chosen design is terrible! Firelei Baez’s design is much more appropriate and resembles the Congresswoman much more! Go for a re-vote b4 wasting all that money.
June 17, 9:46 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: