Columbus statue to remain in NYC park

A statue of Christopher Columbus stands in Columbus Circle in New York City on Friday. New York City will retain the statue in the center of Columbus Circle honoring the Italian explorer. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Jan. 13 (UPI) — A statue of Christopher Columbus, the man credited for being among the first to colonize North America, will remain in a New York City park, said a commission tasked with gathering public feedback about the 15th century Italian explorer also known for atrocities against native populations.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday the statue will stay in Columbus Circle, but historical markers detailing his misdeeds also will be erected.

“Our approach will focus on adding detail and nuance to — instead of removing entirely — representations of these histories,” de Blasio said.

For four months the commission has held public hearings to get feedback about the presence of the statue in a city park. The creation of the commission was sparked by a nationwide effort to remove monuments to Confederate figures in public spaces.

The commission also made recommendations on a number of other monuments, including:

  • a statue of J. Marion Sims, which will be moved to a less prominent spot in Green-Wood Cemetery. Informational plaques will be added to detail his practice of non-consensual medical experimentation on women of color.
  • a plaque honoring Nazi-collaborator French Field Marshal Henri Philippe Petain in lower Manhattan’s Canyon of Heroes, which will remain in place. The city said it would explore opportunities to add biographical information about him and other markers in Canyon of Heroes.
  • a statue of Theodore Roosevelt at the American Museum of Natural History, which depicts him on horseback, flanked by an African American and a Native American, will remain in place. Some say the statue is a representation of white supremacist views Roosevelt held. The city will add signage to offer multiple interpretations of the statue, and will consider commissioning another artwork nearby to “further those dialogues.”


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