Location: 90th Street at Fifth Avenue
Artist/Designer: Jesus Ygnacio Dominguez
Materials: Bronze, granite
Funding: New York City Marathon Tribute Committee
Fred Lebow (1932-1994), a Romanian, Orthodox Jewish immigrant born Fischel Lebowitz, co-founded the New York City Marathon and popularized long-distance running. Lebow began running to build his stamina to improve his tennis game. Running was a transformative experience for him. Although slow, he ran in many marathons. In addition to starting the New York City Marathon, he formed the New York Road Runners Club and nurtured the careers of world-class runners such as Frank Shorter and Grete Waitz.
After Lebow was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1990, a runner from San Diego named Daniel Mitrovich decided to honor him. Mitrovich commissioned a California-based artist, Jesus Ygnacio Dominguez, to craft the life-size image of Lebow in a familiar pose, checking his stopwatch.
Lebow’s statue is the only non-permanent statue in the park. During most of the year, it sits just one block from the Road Runners Club, at a club kiosk and meeting point for runners. But for the New York City Marathon, the statue is moved to the finish line near the Tavern on the Green restaurant and adorned with flowers.
Click on the photo to enlarge