Tuesday, 6 January 2009


An aerial photograph of Battery Park

Battery Park is the 25-acre public park located at the Battery, the southern tip of NYC, facing New York Harbour. Named after the artillery battery that was stationed there at various times by the Dutch and British in order to protect the harbour. At the north end of the park is Pier A, formerly a fireboat station, recently restored this pier has served as the gateway for many celebrities upon their arrival in New York City.

Pier A Battery Park

Pier A was the scene of Charles A. Lindbergh's triumphal return after the first transatlantic flight on June 13, 1927 and the grand arrival of King George VI on June 10, 1939, and many other famous dignitaries.

But one visitor stands out above the rest: it was here that the legendary elephant Jumbo arrived on the Assyrian Monarch and first stepped on American soil with all the fanfare P. T. Barnum could muster, on Easter Sunday, April 10, 1882. Barnum had recently purchased the elephant from the London Zoo for $10,000, much to the disappointment of english children, who started a letter asking Queen Victoria to intervene and save the pachyderm. Nevertheless, Jumbo came to the United States to be the star attraction in Barnum's circus. Even after his death three years later in a train accident, Jumbo's fame lived on. No other animal's name has been so widely adopted into the English language.

P. T. Barnum's most famous circus attraction, "Jumbo," paraded to the opening of "The Greatest Show on Earth" at Madison Square Garden (then on the northeastern corner of Madison Square Park.) Jumbo had arrived in America with Matthew Scott, his beloved keeper of twenty years. The pair became inseperable when Scott nursed the sick baby elephant back to health.

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