Culture

NYC's monuments review concludes, Columbus statue will remain in place

NYC's monuments review concludes, Columbus statue will remain in place”

"Yeah Columbus stays", Cuomo said during an appearance on Long Island.

"Reckoning with our collective histories is a complicated undertaking with no easy solution", said Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a statement.

The recommendations were made by members of the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers, who held five public meetings in the five boroughs late previous year.

Only the statue of Sims will be relocated, from its site in Central Park to the grounds of Greenwood Cemetery, where the doctor is buried. New York's Italian-American community slammed the possibility of removing the statue when the commission was first announced, while others decried celebrating a figure whose actions directly led to the killing of native peoples and the seizing of their land.

New York City's monuments commission has decided not to destroy any monuments in the city, including a controversial Christopher Columbus statue according to New York Daily News.

Italian Americans rejoiced at the news that the 125-year-old statue would not be moved.

Citing the "layered legacies" of each of the items under review, the commission's report recommended a number of changes for several other highly public monuments, which the mayor has already signed off on.

Leaders Call for Central Park Statue to Come Down
Leaders Call for Central Park Statue to Come Down

Panel member Harriet Senie, an art history director at City College of NY, conceded that "not much has changed" after the panel met three times, held five town halls attended by 500 people, and surveyed an additional 3,000 folks. "And we'll be taking a hard look at who has been left out and seeing where we can add new work to ensure our public spaces reflect the diversity and values of our great city".

The statue of Columbus will stay but informational plaques about the explorer's life will be added and a monument to indigenous people will be built nearby, officials said.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island, Brooklyn, ) who unsuccessfully challenged de Blasio a year ago, called the city's decision "a victory for Italian-Americans and those who appreciate his contributions and recognize the explorer represents the immigrant experience".

Another controversial statue, that of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the American Museum of Natural History (which was smeared in red paint in October) will also remain in place, but there will be additional signage and education programs undertaken by the museum to offer more background on Roosevelt.

The 18-member commission included entertainer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, World Trade Center memorial designer Michael Arad, Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell, and other academics, artists and writers. This is a great victory for Italian Americans, as well as for the entire City of NY.

"I was proud to be at the tip of the spear in this fight against revisionist history, political correctness, and the denigration of an icon chosen by an immigrant group that gave so much to this city, state, and nation". The city is going to explore options on how best to provide historic information on these plaques. I don't think so.



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