Saturday, January 23, 2010

An eight-foot-tall bronze statue of a jolly Jackie Gleason stands in front of Manhattan’s midtown Port Authority Bus Terminal. Jackie, clad in his Honeymooner’s bus driver’s uniform, clutching his lunch pail, wears a satisfied expression as he looks out over the mostly indifferent passers-by on New York’s Eighth Avenue (I don’t know who the lady in pink is, however).

Cable television’s TV Land funded the statue in cooperation with Gleason’s estate and the Port Authority.

While it’s hard not to like the character of Ralph Kramden, it’s equally hard TO like the spot where his statue has been placed. Gleason’s dark bronze features are nearly invisible, in perpetual shadow under an overhang and the never-ending crowds here ensure that someone is almost always pushing themselves between you and Ralph. We’re not used to this interference, having enjoyed Ralph from across the clear, calm expanse of our TV room. Just where he belongs.

The plaque reads:
Jackie Gleason as Ralph KramdenBus Driver – Raccoon Lodge Treasurer – DreamerPresented by the People of TV Land

Ralph Kramden Statue
Address: 8th Avenue, New York, NY
Directions: On the west side of Eighth Avenue, midway between 40th and 41st Streets, in front of The Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Admission: Free.
Hours: Always visible.

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