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The Greatest Monument to Quixote

Here’s the Don Quixote monument in the South Kensington section of Philadelphia.

And here it is in its surroundings. It’s the perfect monument to the quixotic.


In 1997, Ciudad Real in Spain donated the statue in the hopes of encouraging one of Philadelphia’s few Puerto Rican neighborhoods.

From the Historical Society of Philadelphia:

The Spanish city of Ciudad Real in the region of La Mancha gifted this 14-foot bronze sculpture to the Spanish-speaking people of South Kensington in 1997 as a token of friendship and cooperation between the two communities. The idea of the sculpture was conceived in 1994 when a visiting delegation of Spanish businessmen met with local representatives of the American Street Empowerment Zone; both groups saw an opportunity to increase economic exchange between pan-Latino South Kensington and Spain. Placed at the gateway to the American Street Empowerment Zone, Quixote overlooks the razed site of Schmidt’s Brewery — the quintessential reminder of Kensington’s former industrial might — and embodies the hopes and aspirations of a neighborhood on the rise.


Quixotic means idealism without regard to practicality. I can’t think of a more quixotic act than dropping a Don Quixote statue in the middle of a Puerto Rican ghetto under the premise, “Puerto Ricans speak Spanish, Cervantes spoke Spanish, why not?”


What other monument both pays homage to the person and actively displays their greatest feat. It would be like if someone built a Christopher Columbus monument that sailed back and forth across the Atlantic.

Quixote faces his ferocious Giant.

Yah, yah!

Faster!, I don’t seem to be getting any closer.

Yah, yah, we’re almost there.

It can be hard to confront your limits. At the end of Quixote he becomes completely sane and then dies of heartbreak.

Just to enjoy a statue you need a little bit of delusion. The thought of even building one seems dumb unless you ignore most of history.

If you take away all the delusion this is all thats left, a ceaseless grind. To not see any hope in a grey day is its own illusion.

Keep your ideals cause at least then you have a shot at taking on the windmill. By the way I’ve never read Don Quixote.

Photos Courtesy of Dan and Robert Goodman.

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2 Responses to “The Greatest Monument to Quixote”

  1. Edward Ayres says:

    My guess is the delegation from Spain had orders to find someplace for the 300th amateur sculpture, made in a metal arts class, by the child of a prominent bull fighting family. They probably convinced the community leaders that Quixote could well be confronting the interloping, Pathmark, bent on destroying the bodega culture. Who could blame Don Quixote for dying of a heart attack after learning what Pathmark charges for goat meat?

  2. [...] Estadios Unidos, no falta a quien le llama la atención el olvido de esta escultura, y la sensación de extrañeza que provoca que la universal figura de Don Quijote, y uno de los [...]

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