General Grant National Memorial:Mosaic Rolling Bench


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The General Grant National Memorial is surrounded by an art project known as the Mosaic Rolling Bench. It was commissioned by the National Park Service during the 1970s during a dark time for the memorial to discourage graffiti artists from tagging the tomb. It also commemorated the 100th anniversary (3/1/1872) of President’s Grant’s signing the law that designated Yellowstone as the world’s first national park.


The benches were designed by Pedro Silva and Phillip Danzig. The mosaics were assembled with help from hundreds of volunteers from the community and was the largest public art project in the USA. In the 1997, there was talk of removing the benches, but activists intervened to save them. This year, the NPS and CITYarts will restore the 48 year old mosaics.


Location: W 122nd St & Riverside Dr, New York, NY 10027

Designation: National Memorial

Date designated or established: August 14, 1958

Date of my visit: 2/17/2020


10 thoughts on “General Grant National Memorial:Mosaic Rolling Bench

    1. I gained a whole new appreciation of Grant after watching the visitor center film and listening to the park’s costumed actor give the ‘State of the Union’ address. We could use a president like Grant these days

      1. I remember reading that Grant was described as having “4 o’clock in the morning courage.” Meaning that he could be awakened in the middle of the night and told of some impending disaster, and he would purposefully get to work to address the problem. This is almost literally true of his leadership at the battle of the Wilderness. Or as one of his soldiers observed, “Ulysses don’t scare worth a damn.”

    1. Grant’s widow wanted the memorial here in NYC and told the memorial committee it was Grant’s wish, since he lived here at the end of his life. Grant is on record only as saying he wished for his wife to be beside him when it was her time.

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  2. Deena Ackerman

    I love those mosaic benches. I cherish the memories of watching/listening to jazz at the site way back when.

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