Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen is among a small handful of Central Park statues that have been buffed to a shine by young hands.

Since 1956, children have climbed all over the bronze portrayal of the beloved storybook author. Now the site of a summer storytelling program, the sculpture shows Andersen reading from The Ugly Duckling, with its title character—later revealed to be a swan—perched at his feet.

The statue was gifted in 1956 by the Danish-American Women’s Association to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Andersen’s birth. In the palm of Hans’s left hand, sculptor Georg Lober inscribed a quiet tribute: “In appreciation of the help and encouragement my wife Nellie has always given me affectionately, Georg, 1956.”