Joyce Kilmer Park
161st Street and
Joyce Kilmer Park is dedicated to the memory of the American poet, Alfred Joyce Kilmer, who was killed in action in France in World War I. The park has been variously called Heintz Park and Heine Park, and is best known for its Lorelei Fountain.
The Heinrich Heine Fountain (Lorelei Fountain), dedicated on July 8, 1899, honors the great 19th century German poet, Heinrich Heine. The fountain celebrates the poet's revered lyric, Die Lorelei, and is often referred to as the Lorelei Fountain. Die Lorelei is the legend of a siren whose beauty and irresistible singing lured sailors to their deaths at the dangerous narrows of the Rhine River. The Lorelei Fountain is a white Tyrolean marble masterpiece consisting of a pillar surmounted by the figure of Die Lorelei. A bas-relief portrait of Heine himself appears on one side of the pillar. The marble base is elaborately strewn with aquatic animals and plants, and three monumental mermaids flank the foot of the shaft. The German-American sculptor Ernst Herter completed the monument to Heine, in 1893. The work, commissioned by Princess Elizabeth of Austria, was offered to the city of Dusseldorf, Germany, Heine's birthplace. Rejected by Dusseldorf, the monument was purchased by a group of Americans of German descent and offered to the City. It took six years of debate before the Lorelei Fountain found its permanent home and then, immediately after its unveiling, it was seriously vandalized. The sculpture has had numerous restorations, the most recent completed in 1999 with joint funding by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, the City Council, as well as a donation from the Stephen and Anna-Maria Kellen Foundation. It now stands proudly again in fully restored form near its original location at the southern end of Joyce Kilmer Park.
At the southern end of Joyce Kilmer Park is a bronze portrait statue of Louis J. Heintz, born in Manhattan in 1861, standing on a granite pedestal in front of which stands a draped female figure designated FAME. She is represented drawing the inscription: "Louis J. Heintz to commemorate the founding of the progress and prosperity of the Bronx" with her right hand while in her left she holds a palm branch. Heintz first proposed a Grand Concourse in 1890, which is one reason his statue stands at the southern end of the Concourse. The sculpture was presented to the city in 1909. The monument was designed by architect William Welles Bosworth, A.N.A. 1869 and the sculptor of the figures are by Pierre Feitu.
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Lehman College Art Gallery and Mario Burger