Universal Soldier Monument
New York, New York
Erected in 1991, this sculpture was meant as a Korean War Veterans Memorial, although it's labeled "The Universal Soldier" (and has nothing to do with the 1992 Jean-Claude Van Damme movie of the same name). It's a 15-foot-high black granite obelisk with a Goliath-size G.I. carved cookie cutter-style out of its center. Perhaps it was meant to convey the invisibility of the soldiers of that overlooked war, or maybe the artist just wanted to make something interesting to not look at. It's too high off the ground for any face-the-hole photo antics.
According to its accompanying plaque, the memorial was placed so that the sun would shine through the soldier's empty head every July 27 at 10 AM, the anniversary of the end of the Korean fighting. It was also positioned so that visitors could see the Statue of Liberty through the cut-out. Symbolic? Sure, but Lady Liberty is far away and tiny. We preferred the view from the opposite site, where the cut-out can become either The Leafy Soldier or the Skyscraper Soldier depending on your point of view.