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Riis Park

The following information is from the Historic Structure Report April 1981, Gateway National Recreation Area, Jacob Riis Park Historic District.


The Wise clock, sometimes known as the Riis Park Memorial Clock, was installed on the promenade at the east end of the ellipse on March 4, 1941. Although the exact origin of the clock is unknown, it was probably built in the 1890s as a special-made item by the Wise Jewelry Store in Brooklyn, although some sources claim that the clock was manufactured by the Howard Clock Company of Boston. The clock stood in front of the Wise Jewelry Store at Flatbush Avenue and Nevins Street for approximately years. It was then moved with the firm to a new location at Fulton Street near Hoyt where it remained for nine years. From there it was moved to 288 Livingston for about five years before being removed to the park. The clock was donated to the Department of Parks by William A. Wise and Son in 1941 when the firm went out of business.

The was a four-dialed free standing mechanism. The base of the clock was cast iron, and from the pedestal top and above it was wood. The clock itself was twelve feet high in height and the overall height of the standard about 20 feet. There were four faces on the clock, each face being four feet in diameter and each dial 30 inches in diameter. The clock had elaborate detailed scroll work throughout the pedestal.

The clock was set in concrete foundation on the promenade at the park. A bronze weather vane in the form of a sailor looking through a spy glass was installed on top of the clock in September 1941.

In the late 1960s or early 1979s the Wise clock was used in a Cracker Jacks commercial for television. Several young children were seen buying Cracker Jacks from the nearby Concession Building and then gathering around the base of the clock to share their treat.

Riis Park Photo Gallery

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