The following information is from the Historic Structure Report April
1981, Gateway National Recreation Area, Jacob Riis Park Historic District.
WISE CLOCK/RIIS PARK MEMORIAL CLOCK 1941
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