Monuments throughout the neighborhood have been blocked off with metal barricades in recent days as some activists have called for them to be torn down. Two statues of Christopher Columbus — one at Columbus Circle and one inside Central Park — are now surrounded by barricades.
A petition to remove the Columbus Circle statue has been circulated at change.org because he was “a white colonist who slaughtered thousands of Native Americans on their own soil.” Just over 8,500 people had signed it as of Wednesday morning. Governor Cuomo has said it will not be removed. The statue is also barricaded and has police protection.
The Columbus statue in Central Park is on Literary Walk in the middle of the park near 66h Street.
The Teddy Roosevelt statue outside the Museum of Natural History at 79th Street and Central Park West has also been barricaded, and readers say more than a dozen police officers are nearby, apparently guarding it. That is more officers than protected Roosevelt during his actual presidency — he was normally guarded by “at least two Secret Service men.” A group called Decolonize This Place has threatened to remove the Roosevelt statue, which it considers a token of white supremacy.
On the subject of symbolic NYPD protection, the super racist Teddy Roosevelt statue in front of @AMNH seems even more heavily guarded than the Wall St Bull (a 4th car joined after this clip).
Bronze Lives Matter, y’all!#decolonizethisplace #heritage #publicmemory #publichumans pic.twitter.com/4cgFLQT4vo
— Lyra D. Monteiro, PhD (@intersectionist) June 15, 2020
And the statue of Daniel Webster in Central Park around 71st Street on the West side of the park was vandalized with anti-police graffiti, apparently on Tuesday night, according to @boysenberry45. Webster was a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State in the first half of the 19th century who called slavery a “great moral, social, and political evil.” But he pushed for harmony with the South rather than a more aggressive stance to eradicate slavery. He died in 1852.