The Waldo Hutchins bench incorporates artistic, inspirational, historical and functional aspects to its purpose.
The bench which cleverly integrates a sundial, is twenty-seven feet long and four feet high. Weighing several tons, the bench structure is made of white granite, complete with a bronze sundial.
The sundial, featuring the figure of a woman, is incorporated into the bench design using three semi-circular lines within the adjacent pavement that represent the hours of 10:00am, midday and 2:00pm, at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. The sundial is a variation on a Berossus sundial. Berossus was a Babylonian priest/astronomer who lived in the 3rd Century BC, and is credited with designing a sundial hollowed out of a solid block, so that the shadow follows an arc. This was a precursor to the armillary sphere.
The piece has been designed with its materials in mind to compliment the natural surroundings. The design honours Waldo Hutchins who was as an original member of the Board of Commissioners who helped create Central Park in New York.
The two Latin inscriptions on the back of the bench read, “Alteri Vivas Oportet Sit Vis Tibi Vivere” and “Ne Diruat Fuga Temporium”, These translate loosely as “You should live for another if you would live for yourself,” and “Let it not be destroyed by the passage of time”, respectively. The overall meaning being to live with care for others and care for your natural surroundings.
The Waldo Hutchins Bench is a place for passers-by to sit and reflect as they observe the park around them.