This "massive salvaged limestone sculpture" once "adorned a temple-like niche in Rice Stadium", a recreational facility built in the early 1920s here in Pelham Bay Park as a gift from Julia Rice (she of Society for the Suppression of Unnecessary Noise fame) in honor of her late husband Isaac. The crumbling stadium was deemed a safety hazard and demolished in 1989, but the American Boy was rescued, restored, and reinstalled near a new running track in the park. The original plaque on the statue read as follows:
YOUTH IS ENTITLED TO FREEDOM
THE FUTURE OF CIVILIZATION DEPENDS
UPON OUR CHILDREN. IT IS
ESSENTIAL IF WE CAN HOPE FOR HUMAN
PROGRESS, THAT CHILDREN SHOULD BE
UNFETTERED BY THE DOMINATION
AND THE CONVENTIONS OF THE PAST.
WE OWE TO YOUTH AN UNTRAMMELED
HAPPINESS GUIDED BUT NOT STULTIFIED
BY STERN OBEDIENCE TO RIGID
RULES SET DOWN BY THEIR ELDERS.
THE PROPER SPIRIT OF PLAY MUST BE
ENCOURAGED; IT IS THE NATURAL
INSTINCT OF THE YOUNG.
HEALTHY CLEAN MIND IN A STRONG
CLEAN BODY IS THE IDEAL
FOR WHICH WE SHOULD STRIVE.