Hillary Rodham Clinton, who made headlines for her imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt, unveiled a statue Saturday honoring the crusading first lady in the city where she was born and died.
“When I last spoke with Mrs. Roosevelt she wanted me to tell all of you how pleased she is by this great, great new statue,” Clinton joked to thousands who gathered for the unveiling in Manhattan’s Riverside Park.
The 8-foot bronze statue, the work of artist Penelope Jencks, depicts Roosevelt leaning against a rock, gazing in deep thought.
It is part of a $1.3 million renovation of the southern entrance to park funded by public money and private donations - including one by Clinton herself.
“It seems that wherever I go she has been there before me,” Clinton said. “Whether it is visiting South America or South Asia, sewing on a union label at a garment factory here in New York City, writing a newspaper column or speaking at a political convention, I can always count on someone saying to me, ‘Well, I remember when Mrs. Roosevelt did that.’ There’s a great deal of comfort in those words for me.”
Roosevelt, a tireless worker for social causes, was first lady from 1933 to 1945, longer than any other.
She was born in New York in 1884, taught classes in the city’s settlement houses in the early 1900s, married Franklin D. Roosevelt here and was a delegate to the United Nations in the 1940s. She died here in 1962.
“Eleanor Roosevelt was a great role model,” said Marjorie Long, who credited Roosevelt with helping her break with her family’s Republican tradition to become a Democrat. “She said what she meant. … She had strong convictions.”
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