Washington Irving was, I guess, one of the first truly famous authors to be from the United States. Or, at any rate, one of the first Americans to get noticed in Europe. I suppose that was the sort of thing that mattered when Irving was alive.
He wrote the short stories “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” and also some historical stuff, including a biography of George Washington. He was born in New York City, and is frequently included whenever wags compose lists of the city’s favorite sons.
There are two statues of Irving in the city, and they could not be more different. Irving as an adult, with a slightly pudgy face and a learned (if not pained) expression, resides on the corner of Washington Irving High School in Manhattan. A much younger (and, uhm, nude) Irving can be found in the unknown-to-some Concert Grove section of Prospect Park.