In the wake of a white supremacist march in Charlottesville and an ongoing controversy over Confederate monuments, the city plans to review several city monuments to determine if they are “symbols of hate.” But before the mayor can even appoint a commission to study the issue, there’s a controversy brewing over the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle. The 76-foot-tall statue was built in 1894, before there even was a Columbus Circle, as we reported a few years ago.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said last week that the statue should be considered for removal.
“There’s very much an ongoing dialogue and debate in the Caribbean, particularly in Puerto Rico where I’m from, about this same conversation that there should be no monument or statue of Christopher Columbus based on what he means or what he signifies … the Native population that was there when he came, oppression, and everything that he brought with him,” she said, according to the Daily News. Italian-American politicians have rallied in support of the statue.
The mayor has declined to take a position until the commission meets. He has floated the idea of placing plaques on controversial statues to explain the differences of opinion.
See pictures of Columbus Circle through the years. The one below is from 1905.