Double Check Statue
Public Art: Double Check statue
Sculptor: © John Seward Johnson II
Date Unveiled: Double Check was completed in 1982 after which Johnson loaned it to Merrill Lynch to be displayed in Liberty Plaza Park in New York City’s Financial District.
Description: The bronze Double Check sculpture features a seated businessman rummaging through his open briefcase, making sure he has everything for his meeting. If you look carefully you can see the briefcase contains a portable tape recorder and a large calculator (a sign of the times). You will also notice some dents and damage from the falling debris on 9/11.
Location: The Double Check statue was originally erected outside Liberty Plaza Park (across from the World Trade Center). The statue was reinstalled in the renamed Zuccotti Park, however, in November 2018, it was moved to Northwest corner of Broadway and Liberty Place, Manhattan, New York City, USA.
The “everyman” businessman presence in Liberty Park who, before, had faded into the background amongst his human brethren, has been called “the survivor.” He was lifted, battered yet whole, from the dust and rubble after the September 11, 2001 tragedy.
Liberty Park was since rebuilt, and this bronze man sits again in his original site, bearing scratches and bruises he sustained that day as a poignant reminder of hope and endurance for us all.
Background To Double Check Statue: The background of this statue is as sad as it is harrowing. On the morning of September 11, 2001, two hijacked planes deliberately flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. As the drama unfolded the businessman rummaging through his briefcase was engulfed in concrete, dust, and debris. Yet he held fast.
Some of the first responders, in the chaos, mistakenly thought it was a shellshocked businessman and tried to help him up, only to realize it was a bronze. The image of this man looking through his briefcase as the carnage unfolded around him is a hard one to erase. In the days, months and years that followed the statue became an “iconic” memorial to those who perished whilst going about their daily business.
Flowers and candles were left at the feet of the statue in the days following the World Trade Centre attack. The statue was later removed and taken to the sculptor’s studio for restoration. Johnson, however, decided to leave some of the damage to it as a memorial to those who perished.
Things You May Not Know:
Sculptor John Seward Johnson II is part of the Johnson & Johnson family. He was originally destined to join the company but was sacked by his uncle in 1962. His dreams lay in painting and sculpture.
Double Check statue was loaned to Merill Lynch and on display in Liberty Park when the Twin Towers collapsed.
A copy of the Double Check was on display in Germany at the time of 9/11 and was recalled by Johnson> The statue was transported via Rome. During its time in Rome notes were left on it by Italians
When Johnson refurbished the statue following 9/11 he also cast a duplicate. On the new statue, he added objects left by mourners and welded them exactly where they had been placed, and then bronzed it. He also gave it a grey patina. The new statue was named ‘Makeshift Memorial’ and was installed along the Hudson River in Jersey City.
In 2006 Liberty Park was renovated and renamed Zuccotti Park.
During the “Occupy Wall Street” campaign, protestors placed a blindfold over the Businessman’s face and stuffed the suitcase full of rubbish.
Daytonian in Manhattan, John Seward Johnson II’s “Double Check” — Zuccotti Park, By Tom Miller, March 27, 2012
Atlas Obscura, The Double Check Businessman, by Luke.J. Spencer.
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