Barrett Triangle, a tiny park near Staten Island's Borough Hall, is notable for the Clarence T. Barrett Memorial, a bronze classical warrior figure on a marble pedestal.
Barrett fought notably in the Civil War and then worked as a landscape architect, making him an especially appropriate park honoree, and a sanitation engineer (likewise, if you ask me). He also served as a Police Commissioner, back when there was actually a Commission consisting of multiple Commissioners (Theodore Roosevelt being the most famous example). And he held a position we no longer have (but maybe should): Superintendent of the Poor.
The monument is by Sherry Edmundson Fry (1879–1966), a sculptor who worked at the confluence of art and war. Not only was Fry a noted sculptor, he helped found the U.S Army's first Camouflage Corps, responsible for camouflaging artillery positions during World War One. But according to Wikipedia, Fry "defied regulations and went out alone in abandoned trenches, looking for enemy helmets, belt buckles and other souvenirs." He sounds like a man I would have liked to know.
We discovered Barrett Triangle when we arrived early for what proved a memorable meal at Enoteca Maria, a restaurant with more personality than ten trendy Manhattan eateries combined, and darn good food to boot.
On that September day, Staten Island Borough Hall preened with lush, colorful planters.
Around the back, I could resist taking this contrasting photo. I never knew retired U.S. flags were to be dropped in a mailbox that says "No Mail." You really do learn something every day in this city.
Nearby too is a Greenstreets plot called Baker Square, named for former Borough President Edward Grant Baker. The little amelanchier trees must be a beautiful sight when they're blooming.
All photos © Jon Sobel, Critical Lens Media