The whole of Central Park is a wonderland for children but two special installations for children are magnificent. Both are gifts of publishing magnate George T Delacorte and surely it is not too whimsical to imagine that the child’s soul in him was calling to children everywhere when he created them.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
We know for sure that Delacorte’s intention in creating a statue of Alice in Wonderland was to provide children with an opportunity to climb over, touch and imagine Alice and her magical world for themselves. It is a bronze statue created in 1959 bringing to life the famous John Tenniel illustrations from the first edition of ‘Alice’. This Alice, who has the face of Delacorte’s daughter, sits on a giant mushroom surrounded by the Chesire cat, the White Rabbit, the Dormouse, Alice’s cat Dinah and the Mad Hatter who is a caricature of Delacorte. It is a bright shiny statue, polished smooth by the tens of thousands of children who have responded to Delacorte’s invitation and clambered all over it. You can find Alice and her friends on East 74th St on the north side of Central Park’s Conservatory Water.
DELACORTE MUSICAL CLOCK
This amazing clock is located near the chidlren’s zoo and Wildlife Center and it is a delightful piece of whimsy. Delacorte saw similiar clocks in Europe and decided to create one for Central Park.
It plays one of 44 tunes every half an hour from 8am-5pm. The tunes change seasonally and during Christmas time, carols take over. The tunes played during the year are all childhood favorites such like Row, Row your boat and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
As the music plays, animals on the base of the clock rotate. They include a dancing bear, a goat playing the bagpipes, a penguin on drums, a bear with a tamborine and a kangaroo playing a horn. Children of all ages find great delight in Delacorte’s musical clock and the tinkling tunes add to the rich experience of being in Central Park.