City to keep Columbus Circle statue

Erika Holt
January 13, 2018

The mayor added that the city's approach "will focus on adding detail and nuance to - instead of removing entirely - the representations of these histories". The commission recommended that it be placed there without its pedestal, with an explanatory plaque informing the public on the monument's origins, as well as information on the legacy of nonconsensual medical experimentation on women of color.

"I believe it is important that we let these statues stand so they may educate those who pass by about our history - the good and the bad".

The statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle is not going anywhere.

The verdict on what to do with New York City's controversial statues of Christopher Columbus, Teddy Roosevelt and others has been set in stone as officials released their review of city property Thursday.

Last year, de Blasio set up a commission to review the city's statues and monuments amid violence stemming from a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Many weeks later, Blasio said that a staffer had written the tweet and that it did not reflect his own views about the Pétain plaque. Notably, the commission includes in its recommendations that the city create an Indigenous Peoples Day, although sentiment was divided on whether it should replace Columbus Day, as many activists have long demanded - and an alternative many other cities have already chosen. It will be relocated from Central Park to Green-Wood Cemetery, where Sims is buried.

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A sidewalk marker in lower Manhattan's Canyon of Heroes installed during World War I to honor Henri Philippe Pétain for valor - who became a Nazi collaborator in World War II - will stay, even though de Blasio had tweeted past year that the plaque would be "one of the first we remove".

The city will aim to "add context" to the marker and recommended removing the name "Canyon of Heroes" because it "mischaracterizes the installation as a celebration of heroic figures who, in some cases, do not reflect contemporary values of New York City". And the Department of Cultural Affairs is looking into commissioning a new artwork in the vicinity.

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.

A fourth monument, that of Theodore Roosevelt at the American Museum of Natural History, was also weighed in on by the commission, which suggested keeping the monument in place and partnering with the museum to provide additional context on-site through signage and education programming.

"The recommendation to add historical markers to many of our city's statues in most cases strikes an appropriate balance, preserving art that is meaningful to many New Yorkers while explaining the context, that these historic figures have not always acted in a way that deserves veneration".

"I did not participate in it much", he told The Post. "To confront this legacy in accordance with the principle of Historical understanding, the Commission feels that the City must take significant action to reframe the narrative presented in the monument".

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