Vandals behead Christopher Columbus statue in Westchester

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

Vandals behead Christopher Columbus statue in Westchester
By Joe Tacopino
August 30, 2017 | 2:57am


Vandals have reportedly beheaded a statue of Christopher Columbus in Yonkers amid a controversy surrounding a larger Columbus monument in Manhattan.

The 2-foot plaster statue in Yonkers’ Columbus Memorial Park was clobbered by an unknown instrument — knocking it off its pedestal, splitting it in two, and leaving it lying on the ground, according to News 12.

Police discovered the replica of Columbus’ face Tuesday at the foot of the pedestal. The back of his head was at the top of a hill.

“We’re going to conduct a thorough investigation and see what we find,” Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner told the network. “It appears just criminal mischief at this time.”

There was originally a bronze statue in that location, but that monument was stolen 12 years ago.

Since there was violence and death during a rally for a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, a public discussion has been ongoing pertaining to what figures deserve to be memorialized.

Mayor de Blasio caused controversy last week when he said the statue in Columbus Circle would be among those examined by a commission he’s appointing to recommend monuments that would be removed.

He later said the commission could just decide to label the statue with an explainer.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004
Christopher Columbus statue defaced in Central Park

Christopher Columbus statue defaced in Central Park
By Tamar Lapin and Natalie Musumeci
September 12, 2017 | 9:32am | Updated


A vandal defiled a larger-than-life statue of Christopher Columbus in Central Park on Tuesday, leaving “blood”-red paint on the explorer’s hands and scrawling “Hate will not be tolerated” on its pedestal.

The vandal also left an apparent threat at the base of the 7-foot-tall bronze: “#somethingscoming.”

A worker for the Central Park Conservancy, the nonprofit which oversees maintenance in the park, discovered the vandalized statue, located in the southern portion of the park at the foot of The Mall walkway near Center Drive, around 7 a.m. and called police, authorities said.

A paper sign was also plastered to the pedestal that read “Save your soul” with the hashtag “#somethingscoming.”

New Yorkers and tourists alike had mixed reactions regarding the defacement.

“It reflects a lot of what’s going on in the world right now and this country … it’s about the unrest in the world,” said Sheri Berger, 54, as she was walking her dog through the green space.

Still, Berger noted, “It bothers me to see [the graffiti]. It’s not positive, it’s destructive.”

Lois Hammett, a Tennessee tourist visiting Central Park, called the vandalism “disgraceful.”

“That’s the first thing I’ve seen in New York that makes me feel saddened and angry,” Hammett said, adding, “We have legal ways of protesting.”

Brooklynite Sallyanne T., 35, said she wasn’t “totally bothered” by the sight.

“People are expressing their freedom of speech … I’d rather see that than violence. :mad: We’re reflecting on our past and terrible things that happened.” :mad:

Central Park workers hurried Tuesday morning to clean up the graffiti using acetone.

A worker was overheard saying the red paint on the statue’s hands would be difficult to remove.

Monuments dedicated to Columbus have become a hot-button issue in the Big Apple amid a national debate on statues honoring controversial figures.

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently assembled a commission to review and recommend the removal of any “oppressive” monuments.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito urged that the 76-foot structure honoring Columbus at Columbus Circle be reviewed for potential removal. :mad:

“I would definitely encourage them to take a look at that one as well,” Mark-Viverito said at the time in reference to the statue.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004
Another Christopher Columbus statue gets vandalized in NYC

Another Christopher Columbus statue gets vandalized in NYC
By Tina Moore
September 25, 2017 | 1:43pm


The famed Christopher Columbus statue that towers over Columbus Circle was vandalized this past weekend.

Suspect Daniel Kimery, 38, was busted in the middle of painting the Manhattan landmark’s left hand with pink nail polish at the busy intersection around 10 p.m. Saturday, court records say.

Kimery, who is homeless but hails from Hot Springs, Ariz., told police officers that the pink represented “the blood on the Italian explorer’s hands,” police sources said.

Police saw him defacing the statue and found the nail polish in his pocket, cops said.

The alleged vandal pleaded to criminal mischief in the fourth degree in court.

Kimery has 12 prior arrests, including for charges of public consumption, being in the park after hours, criminal trespassing, smoking pot and assault.

His first arrest came in July 2013 for allegedly breaking a restroom door inside Trinity Church in lower Manhattan.

In 2015, The Post wrote about Kimery greeting tourists in Times Square with a hand-lettered sign saying: “F–k You!!! Pay Me!!!!!!! I need money 4 Drugz & Hoez & Weaponz Mother F–kerz!”

He waged the abusive campaign just steps from the NYPD’s Times Square substation at 43rd Street and Broadway.

The weekend incident was the second defacing of a Columbus statue in the area this month.

Another vandal defaced a statue of the controversial Italian explorer in Central Park. That person is still on the loose.

The statue’s hands were brushed with red paint and the pedestal scrawled with graffiti, including the hashtag “#somethingscoming.” The bronze statue, just north of the 65th Street park transverse, also had the words “Hate will not be tolerated” written in white paint on its pedestal.

Law-enforcement sources said there was surveillance video and that they planned to watch the statue more closely.

Statues of Columbus have become part of a national debate about art depicting historical people with controversial pasts. The dispute led to violence in August, when white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Va., to protest the removal of a statue of the Robert E. Lee. A woman died during a protest of their gathering.

In the Big Apple, Mayor de Blasio has organized a commission to review the city’s statue collection, including images of Columbus, who is often blamed for wreaking havoc on the health of indigenous people after making his 1492 Caribbean voyage. :mad:

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

NYPD provides 24/7 protection for Columbus statue ahead of holiday
By Carl Campanile and Shawn Cohen
October 4, 2017 | 9:07pm | Updated

He’s Italian, very tall, a little stiff — and he’s getting round-the-clock police protection. No, it’s not Bill de Blasio.

In the city that’s the biggest terror target in the world, the NYPD is providing 24/7 body-guard services to the marble statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle.

The patrols, which consist of one or two cops working eight-hour shifts, were set up in hopes of preventing any more vandalism before Monday’s Columbus Day holiday.

“The statue has been there for years and years [since 1892] without any issues,” groused one law-enforcement source.

“Now because everybody’s complaining about Columbus, and they attacked him with paint, we have to put cops on there to make sure nobody does it anymore,” said the source, calling the new patrol a necessary, but irritating, “waste of manpower.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the Columbus Circle monument was ringed in metal barricades. A patrol car with two uniformed cops was parked within the circle.

“I think it’s a bit much,” mused one woman as she passed by.

Controversy has swirled around the city’s five Columbus statues in recent weeks, an offshoot of the nationwide backlash against monuments honoring Confederate generals and other controversial figures.

Italian-American leaders have been at war with Mayor de Blasio over his recent decision to appoint a commission to review the fate of the city’s potentially offensive monuments.

Hizzoner has refused to guarantee that the Columbus statues will be untouched.

Meanwhile, at least three local Columbus statues have been splashed with paint or defaced with graffiti in recent weeks.

The Columbus in the circle had some paisans in high places pulling strings to secure the celebrity-worthy protection.

Angelo Vivolo, president of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, told The Post he called Commissioner Joseph Esposito at the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management, who called his old pals at the NYPD, where he was Chief of Department until 2013.

“I spoke to Joe Esposito. He took care of it.” Vivolo said.

The Columbus Circle monument had already been under police protection for nearly a week on Sept. 23 when a homeless vandal, Daniel Kimery, 38, admittedly used pink nail polish to deface the left hand of a bronze relief of Columbus on the statue’s pedestal.

Nabbed in the act, Kimery “explained” that the pink signified the blood on Columbus’s hands, then pleaded guilty and got off with $170 in fees and surcharges :mad:, court records show.

Nearby on Sept. 12, vandals splashed red paint on the hands of the Columbus statue in Central Park; in late August the Columbus statue in Astoria was stenciled with blue paint reading, “Don’t Honor Genocide.”

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

De Blasio’s statue committee to hold first meeting
By Carl Campanile
October 6, 2017 | 1:33pm | Updated


The NYPD has been deploying officers to guard the statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle. Christopher Sadowski

The commission Mayor de Blasio appointed to study monuments dedicated to controversial historical figures like Christopher Columbus will hold its first meeting Tuesday at City Hall– the day after Columbus Day, sources said.

De Blasio gave the 18-member panel 90 days to submit its non-binding proposals when it was appointed a month ago.

The panel’s existence has enraged New York City’s Italian American civic leaders, who are fighting to block a growing anti-Columbus movement from taking hold in the Big Apple.

A few cities, including Los Angeles, have scrapped Columbus Day and renamed it in honor of “indigenous” people.

Italian American leaders questioning the timing of the panel’s first meeting.

“Scheduling the first meeting the day after Columbus Day is a cowardly indication of the commission’s intention to ignore the Italian-American community whose NY values were on display throughout the state,” said Philip Foglia, head of the Italian American Legal Defense Fund.

“Scheduling a meeting with little or no public notice does not inspire confidence the commission even has a clue as to New York values. Please take notice that nearly half of the commission members are not even native New Yorkers.“

De Blasio hastily announced he was setting up the panel following rioting by white supremacists opposing the removal of confederate statues in Charlottesville, Va.

He’s gotten blow back from Italian American groups ever since.

Actor Chazz Palminerti told The Post that City Hall’s failure to stand up for Columbus is the reason he skipped the mayor’s Italian Heritage reception Thursday night to accept an honor.

“The Italian-American community is rightfully upset with the disrespect it is enduring by those challenging Columbus statues. I stand emphatically with my community and felt it inappropriate to give any legitimacy to those not supportive of Italian Americans on this important issue,” Palminteri said in a statement.

“Our founding fathers saw fit to name the capital district in Columbus honor and now a commission is going to decide if his statue is appropriate? Ridiculous!”

Amid the controversy, vandals have defaced the Columbus monuments at Columbus Circle and in Central Park, triggering 24-7 police protection of the statues.

De Blasio has tried to quell the controversy.

“I think there’s been a misunderstanding of what options could be utilized,” the mayor said in late August.

He said contested monuments might get plaques with explanations instead of being removed. :rolleyes:

His spokesman said there is “no plan to touch” the Columbus statue in Columbus Circle.

Italian-Americans revere Columbus for discovering the Americas, seeing him a symbol of pride and progress.

But critics, citing evidence of Columbus’ atrocities committed against the Taino indians and other native people in the Caribbean :rolleyes:, said he doesn’t deserve to be put on a pedestal.

Activist groups will hold an anti-Columbus Day tour at the American Museum of Natural History on Monday urging the city to “end its love affair with Christopher Columbus by replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.“

The petition sponsored by Decolonize This Place has gathered over 6,000 signatures.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

Lawmaker takes first step to remove Columbus Day in NYC
By Shari Logan and Natalie Musumeci
October 9, 2017 | 10:33am


Charles Barron has introduced a bill to rename Columbus Day. Gabriella Bass; David McGlynn

A radical :rolleyes: Brooklyn lawmaker on Monday introduced a new state bill to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, as he slammed the famed explorer as a “murderer.”

“This land that all of us inhabit is stolen land – stolen from the indigenous people who were slaughtered and forced onto reservations :rolleyes:,” Assemblyman Charles "Slap Whitey" Barron told The Post , adding “they should be recognized in replace of Columbus Day.”

Barron described Columbus as a “colonizer” who “enslaved Africans and slaughtered indigenous people.” :rolleyes:

“He deserves scorn, not glorification,” he added. :mad:

Bill A8676 states: “Renaming the holiday is a small beginning in recognizing indigenous people for their historic ongoing contributions to history :confused:, culture :confused: and economic life.” :confused:

“Not only did Columbus not discover America, some historians say he never even stepped foot on American soil,” Barron said.

Several states, including Vermont, Minnesota and Alaska have replaced the second Monday in October with “Indigenous People’s Day” as an alternative to Columbus Day. :mad:

This year, the holiday comes amid a national debate over statues dedicated to controversial historical figures triggered by the violence sparked by white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia in August over the removal of a statue of Confederate Army general Robert E. Lee.

A pair of Columbus statues in The Big Apple were recently vandalized, including one in Central Park in which a vandal painted red paint on its hands and scrawled: “Hate will not be tolerated” at its pedestal.

Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio has appointed a commission to review monuments dedicated to controversial historical figures like Columbus.

“Not only should the Columbus statues come down, but also the statues of Thomas Jefferson…and George Washington,” Barron said.

“It’s easy to talk about the Confederacy,” Barron said, referring to the removal of Confederate statues, adding, “It’s more challenging for Americans to realize the history started off with enslavement.”

Barron’s bill will go through the committee process in January.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

New Yorkers sign petition to save Christopher Columbus statue
By Gina Daidone, Reuven Fenton and Bruce Golding
October 8, 2017 | 10:39pm

Hundreds of New Yorkers sent a message to Mayor de Blasio on Sunday: Keep your hands off Christopher Columbus!

One day before the nation celebrates Columbus’ discovery of the New World, lawmakers and parade-goers in The Bronx demanded Hizzoner ignore “over-politicized rhetoric” and ensure that the famed explorer’s statue remain in Columbus Circle.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition circulated at the 41st annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade in Morris Park — to which de Blasio was notably not invited :p — to keep the iconic monument from the “chopping block.”

“That statue isn’t hurting nobody,” fumed carpenter Marco Rossi, 47, of Pelham Bay, who brought his kids to the parade.

“It represents too many important things to be removed to make a few people happy,” he added. “Especially as an Italian-American, I find it offensive.”

Neighborhood resident Kathy Ann Vignola, 62, also ripped de Blasio for assembling an 18-member commission to help decide the fate of “oppressive” monuments that are “inconsistent with the values of New York City.”

“He can’t make the decision himself? It’s an easy decision: Leave the statue alone!” she said.

The parade’s grand marshal, city Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx) — whose late dad was an Italian immigrant — didn’t return requests for comment.

Aides to state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx), Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx) handed out cannoli while gathering signatures on a petition that seeks to exclude the Columbus Circle statue from consideration by the commission.

Members include civil-rights activist Harry Belafonte and Columbia University Professor Mabel Wilson, an expert on “race and modern architecture.”

Last month, de Blasio gave the group until Dec. 7 — more than a month after he’s up for re-election — to submit recommendations.

“I think this commission is nonsense,” Sen. Klein said. “You don’t have a commission to tear down statues. You educate people about the reason why those statues are there. That’s what it’s all about. People who forget our history are doomed to repeat it.”

Parade-goer Melanie Greco, 60, of Parkchester, said she was planning to sign the petition.

“If there is anything I can do to save the statue, even if it’s just signing a piece of paper, I’ll do it,” she said.

The home-care aide said de Blasio “isn’t welcome here today.”

“This is supposed to be a joyous day and his presence would just taint it,” she added. “It would take away from all the good things.”

De Blasio is scheduled to march in Monday’s massive Columbus Day Parade up Fifth Avenue.

He last joined in the Bronx parade in 2015, but earlier this month, organizer Tony Signorile said de Blasio wasn’t invited — and called him a “fake Italian” for refusing to take a stand in support of the Columbus Circle statue.

Mayoral spokesman Eric Phillips said: “There’s no plan to touch the Columbus statue.

“The mayor’s entire focus is on celebrating the contributions of Italians to our city and nation. He’s not going to be distracted from this important task by a few political critics.”

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

Hispanic Day Parade shows support for Columbus statue
By Sarah Trefethen, Michael Gartland and Bruce Golding
October 8, 2017 | 10:29pm


Helayne Seidman

Organizers of Sunday’s Hispanic Day Parade in Manhattan expressed pride in Christopher Columbus — and said his statue should remain in place at Columbus Circle.

“We celebrate the parade around Oct. 12 each year because that’s the day we recognize Columbus coming to the Americas,” said Colombian immigrant Aldolfo del Valle, 77, of Flushing who emceed the annual march up Fifth Avenue.

“He was Italian, but he came in the name of Spain and we speak Spanish. We share a Spanish heritage.”

Joseph Maldonado, president of the Sanitation Department’s Hispanic Society — and a member of the Grand Council of Hispanic Societies in Public Service, which sponsors the parade — called the Columbus Circle monument “part of American history.”

“The Columbus statue should stay up — it’s a must,” he said.

Maldonado also noted that the parade was established in part to honor Columbus and his 1492 voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.

“Columbus landed in a lot of Latin countries,” he said. “It was Spain who gave him the ships.”

Paulina Valle, who choreographed the dance routine for parade group Expresiones de Chilé, said, “Columbus represents the Hispanic culture in New York, and removing an icon like that is like wiping off our identities.

“New York City and the whole USA in general is a country made up of immigrants and the statue represents immigrants.”

Other attendees said they favored removing the statue.

“Christopher Columbus was not our founder. :mad: This belonged first to our American Indians. :mad: He took a lot. There were people here prior to him that deserve a statue more than he does :mad:,” said Andrea Jaramillo, 22, a fashion marketing student of Colombian descent from Islip, LI.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

Crashers try to disrupt Columbus Day ceremony
By Amanda Woods and Emily Saul
October 8, 2017 | 3:15pm | Updated


R Umar Abbasi

Cops booted three protesters — two who were wearing chains and a third dressed as a Ku Klux Klan member — from a Columbus Day wreath-laying ceremony Sunday in Manhattan.

Video posted on Twitter by another attendee captured the trio’s antics at the annual pre-Columbus Day event in Columbus Circle that was attended by about 150 people.


R Umar Abbasi

The snippet of footage shows the two sign-toting, chain-wearing men screaming, “We’ve got nothing to lose but our chains!” One of the signs bears the same slogan, while another reads: “Greed kills.”

The protesters, including one wearing the standard-issue :rolleyes: hooded white sheet that is symbolic of the staunchly racist KKK, spoke out against honoring the Italian explorer before being escorted away. The man dressed in the racist attire stood near the others, but did not appear to be chanting or carrying a sign.

One bystander began bellowing, “Get out of here!” and the men disappeared into the crowd.

One of the trio, Jacob Olson, 28, was slapped with a summons for disorderly conduct, disrupting the ceremony and failing to comply with officers’ orders, according to police.

Some 35,000 people are expected to march in Monday’s Columbus Day Parade, which will wind up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 72nd Street, honoring the explorer sent by Spain.

As The Post reported last week, the NYPD has provided 24-hour protection to the city’s marble statues of the navigator after two were defaced last month. Vandals doused one statue’s hands in red paint and scrawled “hate will not be tolerated.”

Mayor de Blasio appointed a commission to study monuments dedicated to controversial historical figures like Christopher Columbus. It’s expected to hold its first meeting this week.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

Mud protesters demand ‘accurate’ Columbus school curriculum
By Selim Algar
October 9, 2017 | 4:09pm


David McGlynn

A group of roughly 150 protesters demanded Monday that city schools recast their portrayal of Christopher Columbus from heroic to heinous.

The crowd of activists, teachers, students and parents gathered at Department of Education headquarters in Manhattan to call for an overhaul of social studies programs to ensure “historical accuracy” and “cultural responsiveness.”

The gathering — which included kids from top city schools including Bronx Science and Stuyvesant HS — lobbied for reforms ranging from the racial makeup of teachers to a lessened focus on testing.

“We’re supposed to be the most liberal city in the world yet we still celebrate Columbus Day,” said activist and Bed-Stuy parent Felicia Alexander.

“Why are 85 percent of the students in our schools people of color, students of color, yet 60 percent of the teacher are white?” she said over a bullhorn. “These teachers view our students as menacing, as dangerous, as threatening. :rolleyes: They view our kids as less likely to succeed.” :clap:

Alexander said instructors need to be trained to “understand the backgrounds and the diverse cultures of our kids” in order to effectively teach them.

“When my children open a book I want them to see themselves in those pages,” she said. “When they see themselves reflected in a positive light they are more likely to succeed.” :rolleyes:

Organizer Natasha Capers of Coalition for Educational Justice echoed the call for increased training for city teachers to help eradicate bias and racism in city schools.

“This isn’t just about changing the name of a holiday or the removal of a document,” she said in a statement. “During the past school year, young people have been exposed to hate in ways most have never experienced before. It is more important than ever that our students are learning accurate versions of history and are exposed to diverse cultures and perspectives.”

Many parents brought their young children to join the march and gave them signs blasting Columbus and celebrating indigenous historical figures.

The event included a dance performance from a Mexican-American troupe dressed in full indigenous regalia.

Gibran Raya, a former teacher and member of the group, ripped the elevation of Columbus as a hero and urged educators to move away from conventional curriculums and high stakes testing.

“It’s also insulting that you go to Columbus Circle and you see a big statue of this quote unquote hero,” he told the crowd. “He’s not a hero to me, he’s not a hero to us. We know better. We know our history. We know who we are.”

Capers demanded that de Blasio intensify diversity training and the retooling of city school curriculums. :mad:

“CEJ would like the Department of Education to make culturally responsive education the center of the education agenda for the mayor’s second term,” she said.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

De Blasio’s monuments panel decides to remove only one
By Yoav Gonen
January 11, 2018 | 6:05pm | Updated


Getty Images

Mayor de Blasio’s five-month odyssey to center the national debate over removing controversial monuments on New York City ended with a whimper on Thursday after officials announced that just one statue would be moved — from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

The 18-member panel of experts whose commissioning led to protests and rallies over long-gone historical figures ended up focusing on just four public monuments — with controversial 1800s gynecologist Dr. J. Marion Sims being the lone figure to get the boot.

His Central Park monument will be moved to Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where he’s buried.

Monuments and markers to controversial :confused: explorer Christopher Columbus, French Nazi collaborator Henri Philippe Petain and former US President Theodore Roosevelt were also eyed for removal — but all three will stay put, with clarifying historical information to be added.

While a number of panelists recommended tossing the explorer from his midtown perch in Columbus Circle over his ties to genocide and the slave trade, it was Roosevelt who came closer to getting yanked from outside the American Museum of Natural History because half the body wanted him gone.

That group pointed to his statue’s connections to racial hierarchy and eugenics, but with the vote split the panel left it up to de Blasio — who granted Teddy a reprieve.

Columbus, whose potential removal sparked significant blowback against de Blasio from the Italian-American community, will be joined by a large-scale monument to indigenous peoples :mad: — potentially in nearby Central Park, officials said.

“Reckoning with our collective histories is a complicated undertaking with no easy solution. Our approach will focus on adding detail and nuance to – instead of removing entirely – the representations of these histories,” said de Blasio. “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.” :mad:

It was the mayor who launched the entire brouhaha by tweeting in mid-August that he would form a commission and that Petain’s marker — a nameplate on the sidewalk along Broadway — “will be one of the first we remove.”

He later claimed the tweet was botched by his staff and didn’t reflect his stance.

The commission on Thursday ruled that the 206 markers in the “Canyon of Heroes” should remain for historical accuracy, including Petain’s.

“The Commission believes that if a marker is accurate, and not celebratory of egregious values or actions, it should not be removed,” the panel’s 42-page report says.

The mayor did not embrace the panel’s accompanying recommendation that references to the name “Canyon of Heroes” be scrubbed from downtown.

One panel member, Harry Belafonte — easily the highest-profile member of de Blasio’s commission — took only one meeting to decide the enterprise wasn’t worth his time.

The singer and civil rights icon — a strong supporter of the mayor — described the meeting he attended as “superficial,” but declined to detail what was discussed.

“I did not participate in it much,” he told The Post. “There were a lot of things I could have suggested and done, but none of it would have been worth the time to go through it all.”

Panel member Harriet Senie, an art history director at City College of New York, 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.

“It was very, very challenging, but it was probably done as well as it could be,” said Senie, who blamed the lack of more action on the divergent opinions held by members of the commission.

The panel also made a slew of recommendations for how to judge which historical figures are monument-worthy going forward, and which additional statues should be subjected to review for removal.

The works of art on public property that merit attention include those with at least two years of negative public reaction, opposition from a local community board or figures whose reputations are challenged by new information.

City officials said there was no cost to taxpayers for the initiative, as panelists received no subsidies or reimbursement for travel.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

Italian-Americans want to make Columbus statue a landmark
By Yoav Gonen
February 19, 2018 | 1:01am


Getty Images

A coalition of Italian-American groups are trying to thwart Mayor de Blasio’s bid to alter the Christopher Columbus statue at Columbus Circle by asking a city commission landmark it.

Last month, Hizzoner said the statue would soon be joined by historical markers that tell the fuller story of the explorer, warts and all.

But that plan doesn’t sit well with members of the Italian-American community, who revere the explorer as a cultural icon.

“We’re not in favor of someone else deciding what Columbus is about and what value he had,” said Angelo Vivolo, head of the coalition. “We’re totally against that and wanted to do whatever is in our power to prevent that.”

Filing a petition for review with the Landmark Preservation Commission at least adds a layer of public review that’s currently absent, the groups said.

They also hope to win landmark status for the statue, which they believe would prevent the city from even erecting markers near Columbus.

A rep for the landmarks commission said statues are typically regulated by a different agency, the Public Design Commission, to which they make recommendations.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

The fate of this statue to be decided tomorrow
By Rich Calder
April 15, 2018 | 10:39pm


The Dr. J. Marion Sims statue
Angel Chevrestt

The fate of the only statue deemed worthy of removal under Mayor de Blasio’s review of so-called “symbols of hate” will be decided Monday by the city’s Public Design Commission.

The commission will meet at City Hall to decide whether to accept a recommendation made in January by a mayoral-appointed panel to relocate a statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims — who was heralded for advances in gynecology but condemned for experimenting on slaves — from its perch in Central Park to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where he is buried.

De Blasio formed the 18-person panel last August to review “all symbols of hate on city property” in the wake of violence by white-supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Va.

Following a five-month review that drew protests and national debate over concerns about scrubbing history, the panel opted to remove only the statue of Sims, citing his treatment of slave women.

It spared every other monument dedicated to controversial historic figures, most notably the Christopher Columbus statue in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle.

Palel opponents, however, are expected to testify against removing the Sims statue, saying it would set a bad precedent.

“The fate of the monument mustn’t hinge on whether some New Yorkers — like the city’s first lady — believe that Sims was a ‘bad’ person,” said Michele H. Bogart, an art-history professor at Stony Brook University.

But (((Tom Finkelpearl))), who co-chaired the commission, said moving the statue to Green-Wood “is an important step toward making our public spaces more open, inclusive, and welcoming to all.” :confused:

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

NYC commission unanimously approves statue’s removal
By Rich Calder
April 16, 2018 | 4:17pm | Updated


Angel Chevrestt

It took the city’s Public Design Commission only a half-hour Monday to approve removal of a statue of a pioneering 19th century gynecologist who experimented on slaves.

The commission voted 7-0 to accept a recommendation by a mayoral-appointed panel to relocate a statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims from Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street in East Harlem to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where he is buried.

“The statue must be relocated,” said an emotional Signe Nielsen, the commission president, breaking into tears. “I am not a woman of color but am deeply moved by what I heard today.” :rolleyes:

Prior the vote, commissioners spent nearly a half hour taking testimony from seven individuals. Six made impassioned pleas to move the statue immediately, considering it’s situated in a neighborhood with many black residents. :eek:

City officials afterward said the statue would be removed Tuesday morning and trucked to Green-Wood. Once there, it will be briefly put in storage for renovations :rolleyes: before being displayed at a later date with a historical marker documenting Sims’ experiments.

“Placing the sculpture near his gravesite is not meant to glorify him,” the cemetery said in a statement. “Rather, it is a visual focal point that will bring attention to a factual display that Green-Wood will build to document Sims’ story, including his shameful experimentation on enslaved women in the South between 1845 and 1849.”

While the city is removing the statue, it is leaving a granite platform for a yet-to-be-commissioned monument expected to pay tribute to the slave women Sims experimented on. :mad: :mad: :mad:

“We believe that this new artwork could help us heal Sims’ legacy, a step toward a fuller reckoning with our past and stronger, more inclusive future for our city,” said Tom Finkelpearl, co-chairman of the mayoral panel that recommended removing the state.

Marina Ortiz, founder of East Harlem Preservation, praised the commission’s decision, but said keeping the “granite platform in place – even with the engravings covered – robs East Harlem residents of the chance to lay a foundation for an entirely new artistic vision for the site.” :mad:

Michele Borgart, an art history professor at Stony Brook University, was the only person to speak out against removing the statue, saying it would be “sanitizing history” and create a “horrible precedent.”

De Blasio formed the 18-person panel last August to review “all symbols of hate on city property” in the wake of violence by white-supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia. :mad:

Following a five-month review that drew protests and national debate over concerns about scrubbing history, the mayoral panel opted to remove only the statue of Sims, citing his treatment of slave women.

It spared every other monument dedicated to controversial historic figures, most notably the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

State designates Columbus monument as landmark
By Carl Campanile
October 5, 2018 | 7:07pm | Updated October 5, 2018 | 7:08pm


The monument to Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle, Manhattan, New York. De Agostini/Getty Images

The state is designating the Columbus monument at Columbus Circle as a landmark — in case the city tries to move it in the future.

The New York State Board of Historic Preservation voted unanimously on Sept. 20 to place the statue in the state and national registers for its historic and cultural significance.

The action was not publicized.

Gov. Cuomo is expected to announce the designation at the Columbus Citizens Foundation dinner Saturday night and the news will be celebrated at the monument on Sunday — ahead of Monday’s Columbus Day Parade.

The 76-foot beaux arts monument was designed by Italian sculptor Gaetano Russo and it’s his only sculptural art work in America.

“The form and content of this work . . . embody a number of ideas about civic pride, patriotism, nationalism, and ethnic identity that informed American culture in the early 20th century,” said Jennifer Betsworth, a state historic preservation expert who presented the Columbus monument proposal to the state board.

The erection of the Columbus statue in the “geographic center” of New York City was an attempt “to help Italian American immigrants gain status in American society,” she said.

During the presentation, Betsworth acknowledged that Columbus remains a controversial figure.

Critics complain he should not celebrated because he mistreated native Americans. Some have called for the statue’s removal.

A commission appointed by Mayor de Blasio decided that the statue should stay put, but recommended historical texts be added to address Columbus’ faults as well as his successes.

State board members said they supported adding those texts.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

Police Investigate Vandalism At Christopher Columbus Statue In South Philadelphia
October 8, 2018 at 1:35 pm


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia Police are investigating vandalism at the Christopher Columbus statue in South Philadelphia.

Police say vandals spray painted anti-Italian and anti-Columbus Day sentiments on the sidewalk outside the History of Italian Immigration Museum on East Passyunk Avenue.

This is on top of at least one other case nearby, say police.

No arrests have been made.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

Police Investigate Anti-Columbus Day Vandalism In South Philadelphia
October 8, 2018 at 11:30 pm

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Police are investigating two cases of anti-Columbus Day vandalism in South Philadelphia.

Police say a vandal spray-painted anti-Trump and anti-Columbus Day sentiments on the sidewalk outside the History of Italian Immigration Museum on East Passyunk Avenue around 4:35 a.m. According to authorities, the suspect was alone and appeared to be wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
columbus day vandalism Police Investigate Anti Columbus Day Vandalism In South Philadelphia

The message read, “Columbus equals Mussolini equals Rizzo equals Trump equals Fascist.”

Just a few miles away, police say several “end Columbus Day” messages were also spray-painted on the sidewalk in front of the Christopher Columbus Statue on 2800 South Broad Street in Marconi Park.

A police official says he would be surprised if the two incidents were not related.

At the museum, there is frustration at what they found outside their door.

“A lot of hatred for the Italian-American community, I guess, because of Columbus Day. It’s horrible to see that this could happen,” said Pasquale Nestico.

Police believe the same person is responsible for both incidents.

On Monday night, authorities released a photo of a person of interest in the case.

Anyone with any information is asked to call police at 215-686-TIPS.


Credit: Philly Police

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

Philadelphia Lawmaker Pushing To Change Columbus Day To Indigenous Peoples’ Day
October 8, 2018 at 11:01 pm

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia lawmaker is pushing to officially change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Pennsylvania.

State representative Chris Rabb introduced the legislation.

He wants to honor Native Americans, instead of Columbus who began the colonization of America.

At least four states have switched to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

Columbus Statue, Italian Immigration Museum in Philly Vandalized on Columbus Day
By NBC10 Staff
Published at 12:21 PM EDT on Oct 8, 2018 | Updated 5 hours ago

A statue of Christopher Columbus and a museum devoted to Italian immigration in Philadelphia were both vandalized with graffiti opposing Columbus on Columbus Day.

At the History of Italian Immigration Museum, on Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia, "Italian-Americans against racism" and "End Columbus Day" was found spray-painted on the sidewalk Monday.

NBC10 obtained surveillance video of a suspect outside the museum wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Police later released photos of the suspect.


The graffiti at the museum also read, "Slavery Genocide Rape Stolen Land Lenape Hoking." The Lenape, also known as the Lenni or Leni Lenape, were native Americans who lived in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania; they called their home "Lenapehoking."

Similar graffiti reading "Italian-Americans against racism" was found at a statue of Columbus on Broad Street in South Philadelphia's Marconi Plaza, which was named after Italian radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi.


Graffiti was also found at a statue of Columbus in Marconi Plaza in South Philadelphia.

Columbus Day was created as a federal holiday in 1937. Many cities mark the day with a parade and celebrations of Italian American culture and pride. Philadelphia, where South Philly remains the heart of Italian community, held its parade Sunday.

But some cities and states -- including Cincinnati and Alaska -- have replaced the holiday with celebrations of indigenous people who were forced off their land, enslaved, sickened and killed by Columbus and the European settlers who followed him. :mad: :mad:

Pennsylvania Rep. Chris Rabb has proposed doing that in Pennsylvania, Billy Penn reported. He said he doesn't think his bill will ever get to the House floor.

But he "wanted people to know we care about this issue," he said.

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

Columbus Circle statue will be a protected landmark
By Bob Fredericks
December 6, 2018 | 4:25pm | Updated December 6, 2018 | 9:14pm

The monument honoring Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle — which survived an attempt to have it removed — will now be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Park Service last month added the 126-year-old, 76-foot statue near Central Park to its list of protected landmarks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday in a statement.

“The Columbus Monument is revered by the Italian-American community in New York and stands as a tribute to the ways our state has welcomed immigrants from around the globe,” Cuomo said.

“I am proud that we were able to secure this designation, which will help ensure the history of all cultures that make up our uniquely diverse state is always recognized.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio had formed a committee to decide whether certain monuments and works of art in the city should stay or go after Confederate monuments were removed or relocated in the South.

The committee spared the Columbus statue, which critics said glorified the explorer whose “discovery” of North America contributed to deadly epidemics, genocide and the enslavement of indigenous people and Africans.

Hizzoner said a plaque or other monument would be erected near the statue telling that side of the story. :mad: