In 1913 French was commissioned to create statuary to adorn the elaborately decorated Beaux-Arts pylons on the Brooklyn approach to the recently completed Manhattan Bridge. The architects determined the subjects, City of New York and City of Brooklyn. French determined the iconography. He used specific emblems—a treasure chest, the torso of a famous classical statue, a winged globe, and a peacock—to suggest the rich, cultured, and worldly nature of Manhattan. He also used the pose and gestures of an idealized female figure to suggest a haughty aloofness characteristic of the city.
Danny O captures the same self-confidence, even a hint of conceit, in the poise of his Manhattan. Instead of using symbols to supplement his personification, he uses color and line to give a sense of form to the figural composition. Highlights and shadows echo French’s, but Danny O’s style is more abstracted, more suggestive, and less particularized than the Beaux-Arts style that French exemplified.