A few weekends ago I was walking around Riverside Drive and decided to consult my Roadside America app to see if there was anything interesting in the neighborhood I hadn't discovered yet. I found two things that were close to where I was, the Shinran Statue and the Amiable Child Monument.
The Shinran Statue currently resides outside of a Buddhist church on Riverside Drive, but it once stood outside of a temple in Hiroshima, Japan. The statue managed to survive the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, despite being located 1.5 miles from the center of the blast and was shipped to New York in 1955. It is definitely a statue that I might not have looked twice at if I was just passing by, but there are plaques explaining its significance, if you don't happen to scour apps for odd roadside attractions like I do.
The monument is small and a little hidden—I walked right past it a few times—but it's fenced off and has a historical marker plaque next to it. It is really odd to see a headstone all alone in the middle of New York. Nothing seems to last for very long here and it's hard to fathom how it has remained all these years when so many great buildings in the city have been demolished in the name of progress. There was a few coins, a stone and even a Hershey Kiss on the top of the stone when I visited. One of the iron bars of the fence was bent in a way that is extra creepy whenever gravestones are involved.
I am eternally grateful to live in a city in which a leisurely weekend stroll can include things that are a little bit historical, a little bit weird and always worth a stop.