NYC panel: Keep statues but add markers
A commission created to figure out what to do with controversial statues and monuments on New York City property has recommended that most be kept where they are with historical markers added to give additional context, with just one moved from its high-profile location.
Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the statue review last summer amid a national outcry over violence surrounding a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the removal of a Confederate statue. Attendees and counterdemonstrators brawled, and a counterdemonstrator was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of protesters.
At the time, de Blasio said a task force would be created to review “symbols of hate” on city property with an eye toward determining whether removals were necessary. Among the statues and monuments that came under scrutiny was the statue of Christopher Columbus that stands above Columbus Circle; a plaque in lower Manhattan for Henri Philippe Petain, considered a Nazi collaborator; and a Central Park statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims, who operated on slave women to develop advances in gynecological surgery.
The Sims statue is the only one being moved, to the Brooklyn cemetery where he is buried. For the Columbus statue, the city would add historical markers and commission a new monument to honor indigenous people. Other markers would be added elsewhere to give additional context for other statues and monuments.
The decision not to move the Petain plaque didn’t sit well with state Assemblyman Dov Hikind.
“It is immoral to publicly display the names of Nazis,” he said.