NYC monuments commission decides to move one statue and contextualize Columbus

New York’s Mayoral Advisory Commission’s review of controversial statues has decided to keep monuments honoring Christopher Columbus Teddy Roosevelt and others

"Our approach will focus on adding detail and nuance to - instead of removing entirely - the representations of these histories", de Blasio's statement said. 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.

For the Columbus statue, the city wants to add historical markers and commission a new monument to honor indigenous people.

To make their decisions, the MAC held three formal meetings and one public hearing in each borough, where hundreds of New Yorkers offered their verbal testimony.

The most contentious of the monuments under review was the Christopher Columbus statue that anchors the Columbus Circle roundabout on the southwestern corner of Central Park.

A task force created to figure out what to do with controversial statues and monuments on New York City property - described by the mayor as "symbols of hate" - has recommended only one statue be moved from its current location.

As CBS first reported, the commission was deadlocked on the Roosevelt statue, and de Blasio cast the tie-breaking vote to have it remain. This is a great victory for Italian Americans, as well as for the entire City of NY.

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

The monument also recommended keeping the Broadway "Canyon of Heroes" plaque to Philippe Petain, a World War I hero later convicted of treason for heading the collaborationist Vichy government in Nazi-occupied France during World War II.

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.

The city will also keep the Theodore Roosevelt statue at the American Museum of Natural History and partner with the museum to provide additional context onsite through signage and educational programming, which would provide multiple interpretations of the sculpture, the artist's intentions and the nature of the piece as part of the museum's history.

The city also plans to commission a new monument honoring Indigenous peoples.

Officials said they "will explore opportunities to add context such as wayfinding, on-site signage and historical information about the people for whom parades were held".

The 18-member commission included entertainer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, World Trade Center memorial designer Michael Arad, Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell, and other academics, artists and writers.

"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.

"I was proud to be at the tip of the spear in this fight against revisionist history, political correctness, and the denigration of an icon chosen by an immigrant group that gave so much to this city, state, and nation".

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