Do monuments still matter? Does art still matter? Does the human condition still matter? They are all connected.

All these things still and always will, matter. Geo-location on a silly device will not replace the physical world around us – and if it does, well, we are really screwed then.

Larger than life monuments capture the larger than life people and events that helped shaped the country and the world. A human figure carved out of a single piece of marble is am amazing thing to behold and should not (and can not) be replaced by a digital representation of it. The digital representation can be a wonderful tool to allow people to experience it, somewhat, without really being there but it will never replace the exact experience.


If technology ultimately makes us feel less connected with our past then technology will be doing us a disservice. Technology should act as a tool that helps us learn about ourselves.

The question often gets asked, why are we here? To me, that’s a simple answer. We are here to learn about ourselves, on all different levels. On a personal level (learning about ones own self) all the way up to the grandest level, to learn about ourselves in the terms of a species. Our actions throughout history exemplify this over and over again. Our thirst for knowledge about our selves is the reason why religion, art, culture, science and technology were developed in the first place. It is why we have the need to explore and create.

Monuments will always matter, they are forever. Granite and stone last longer than a digital hard drive.

What's the Coolest, Weirdest or Most Overlooked Monument in Your City?

Last week, the New York Times produced a beautiful feature that serves as a monument to monuments, of sorts, highlighting the often-forgotten statues, plaques, pillars and benches that mark Important Sports and Important People across New York City.

The story plucks 10 lesser-known monuments for recognition, like the Lithuanian Flyers Memorial in, yes, Lithuanian Square, Brooklyn. After Charles Lindbergh's famous trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, other pilots caught "Atlantic fever," including Steponas Darius and Stasys Girenas who attempted to fly from Brooklyn to Lithuania but crashed over Germany. In their home country, the men are celebrated as heroes, their images plastered across stamps and currency; their names etched upon bridges, streets and schools. Here, they're remembered with a small aluminum plaque a few blocks from the BQE.

Lithuanian Square, a tiny park in Brooklyn, celebrates two men who are "bigger than George Washington" in their home country, via NYC Parks


With over 800 such monuments in New York City, some public spaces are becoming too crowded with granite-chisled memories; Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmstead apparently warned planners of this back in the 1870s. A few parks even have moratoriums on new monuments, and it turns out it's not as easy to get a marker for history as it used to be: Over the last 20 years, fewer than 60 new memorials have been approved by the city. Some folks who made the cut include Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt, who help to balance out a list which is almost exclusively men.

Perhaps there will come a time when we won't need physical reminders of history. Using geolocation on our phones, we can already discover plenty about what happened there before. Instead of gazing at a giant marble head, we can read a story or watch a video, look at old photos and follow a map. Maybe someday there will be memorials for memorials.

Do monuments still matter? In case some of our most interesting city markers might be fleeting, perhaps we should highlight some of our favorites. What's the strangest, coolest, or most bizarre monument in your city? Maybe it's tucked away beneath a freeway overpass or down an overgrown alley, easily ignored, or so obvious and out-in-the-open we're oblivious to it. What's a memorial that no one remembers, but shouldn't be forgotten? [New York Times]

Gizmodo's Landmark Status examines the strange and surprising structures that our cities have chosen to protect. Discover something interesting that's been landmarked near you? Drop us a tip in the comments.