It took me 5 miles to run to all the statues of women of historical importance in NYC. There are only 5. I have no idea how long it would’ve taken me to run to the ones of men because there are 150 of them.
I’m fascinated by the question of what that does to the imagination, the psyche of one half of the population when all around places of importance – street names, buildings, statues – are named after men. It’s the same issue of representation that is sorely lacking on TV and in film. And, of course, goes beyond gender and into race and ethnicity too.
Rebecca Solnit’s City of Women maps out what the subway stops of NYC could be like if they were named after women who did great things here. I’d love to be able to run from Mary J Blige up in the Bronx to Billie Jean King in Queens. And I’d relish every mile.
Here’s the route I ran, if you’re in NYC and would like to do it too:
– Start at Bryant Park, at the end closest to the NY Public Library main branch. Just across from the Bryant Park Grill, where you’ll see Gertrude Stein seated in a Buddhist position.
– Head down 40th St and cross over 6th Ave. Make a left when you hit Broadway, and on 39th st, you’ll see Golda Meir Square on your right. It may be under construction, so you’ll have to look hard to find the bust of Israel’s first female prime minister, Golda Meir.
– Make your way north towards Broadway and run all the way up towards 72nd Street. Run west to Riverside Drive where you’ll see Eleanor Roosevelt, humanitarian and longest-running First Lady in US history.
– Head straight up Riverside Dr for just over a mile until you hit 93rd street, and you’ll find Joan of Arc, the first statue of a female to be put up in NYC, in 1915.
– Run east towards Amsterdam Ave, and carry on for 2.1 miles along it, ’til you hit 123rd St. Continue on 123rd, and turn right down St Nicholas, where you’ll find abolitionist Harriet Tubman, or Moses, as she was fondly known, on 122nd.
Celebrate the fantastic women in this world by popping over to Sylvia’s for some comfort food!