Look around Central Park and small surprises pop up year round.
From a bright yellow pocket of springtime daffodils to an impromptu concert at Strawberry Fields and a bronzed hero, near the Tisch Children's Zoo, who stands ready to accept hugs and offer rides to his admiring fans.
The hero is Balto the sled dog who has nobly stood on a rock outcropping for 85 years. His statue, a big favorite in the Park, is located west of East Drive and 67th Street and north of the Zoo.
Back in 1925 Nome, Alaska was stricken with a horrific diphtheria outbreak. Not enough antitoxin was available to treat all the sick until teams of mushers and sled dogs battled a blinding blizzard and traveled 674 miles to deliver the medicine.
Balto, a husky, was one of the heroic lead dogs.
In recognition of such bravery, the famed Brooklyn born sculptor Frederick George Richard Roth was commissioned to create a lasting tribute.
Roth, whose other work at Park includes Tales of Mother Goose and Dancing Goat and Dancing Bear, unveiled the statue on December 16, 1925. The most important among the honored guests was the real Balto himself.
Over the past nine decades, Balto’s statue has been a favorite as evidenced by the deep burnishing of his ears and back. Children and others frequently climb up on him for a photo opp, or to contemplate life and the stirring words on the statue’s plaque: Endurance · Fidelity · Intelligence. Good words for today's heroes and heroines too.
Location: East Drive at 67th Street
— Linda J. Bottjer