Grant's Tomb @ Riverside Park / New York, New York
To some critics and many local Upper West Side residents, the colorful mosaic tile benches that snake around Grant's Tomb in Riverside Park at 122nd Street are a pleasing example of folk art. But to some Civil War buffs and the National Park Service, which maintains the monument, they were viewed as a clash with the site and trivialized the Tomb's historical significance. Commissioned in the early 1970's by the Park Service, in part to discourage people from scribbling graffiti on the monument, the benches were made with the help of hundreds of local adults and children. The undulating benches surrounding the site, with references to the Civil War, have been compared to an unfolding comic book. In 1997, coinciding with the 100th anniversary celebration of the monument, the Park Service was intent on removing the benches as part of a $1.6 million renovation that began in 1995. A test was conducted by the Park Service workers, cutting one piece from a bench and then hoisting it in the air a few inches to see how difficult the seats would be to move. This widely publicized experiment galvanized local officials, preservationists, artists and others who began writing letters, passing out petitions and vowing to fight the benches' removal. They ultimately won - and the benches remain. And who is buried in Grant's tomb? According to Woody Woodpecker in an episode called Ballyhooey, when asked by a trivia game show host, he responded, "Napoleon!" Wrong answer.