On top of the Municipal Building stands "Civic Fame" the largest sculptural piece in the city when it was built. It has been surpassed in size by the monstrosity at Union Square. The Municipal Building was built in 1913-14 to house the administrative offices needed after the five boroughs were consolidated in 1898 to form what we now know as New York City.
American Venus quotes a 1913 New York Sun article "Up on top of the Municipal Building stands the figure of "Civic Fame." Made by Adolph Weinman. There Miss Munson is again..." There is also a reprint of an unnamed newspaper or magazine of the period that states "Audrey Munson, Who Tops the Municipal Building as Civic Pride...". Let's assume the newspaper meant Fame instead of Pride.
However, in "Monuments and Masterpieces" written by Donald Martin Reynolds, an art history professor at Columbia University, in 1988 Reynolds says "The model for the figure of the sculpture was the New York woman who posed for Saint Gauden's Victor in Sherman's March to the Sea in Grand Army Plaza, Julia Baird, nicknamed "Dudie"." To frustrate matters Reynolds doesn't cite any sources for his information.
Whom should we believe, an art history professor or a contemporary newspaper account?
"Civic Fame" is on the cover of the excellent "The Art Commission and the Municipal Art Society Guide to Manhattan's Outdoor Sculpture compiled by Margot Gayle and Michele Cohen in 1988. The statue is 25 feet tall and is made of copper over a steel frame. It was re-gilded for the American Bicentennial in 1976. On her right arm is a shield carved with the seal of the city. In her right hand is a laurel wreath signifying fame. In her left hand is a crown with five turrets, one for each city borough. To the eternal dismay of Brooklynites she stands facing west, with her back toward Brooklyn. In 1936 the left arm fell off and went through a 26th floor skylight. The statue was renovated again in 1991 as part of a building renovation.
The New York City website has a history of the sculpture and a couple of photos.
No photos, but Francis Morrone has an interesting article about civic sculptures in New York in an 1999 issue of City Journal.