Columbus statue to stay put, mayor says

Columbus statue to stay put, mayor says

A city commission has chose to keep a controversial statue of Christopher Columbus that towers over Columbus Circle, officials announced Thursday.

While many advocates called for the removal of the Columbus statue due to his treatment of Native Americans, many Italian-Americans felt such action would erase their history "and that was unacceptable to me", John Calvelli, a member of the committee who was in favor of keeping the Columbus Circle monument, told CBS2. But when it comes to the Christopher Columbus statue, a historical marker will be added.

While a majority of the commission voted to keep the Columbus statue in place, de Blasio also decided that the city will commission a new monument that recognizes the contributions of indigenous peoples, according to CBS.

"Reckoning with our collective histories is a complicated undertaking with no easy solution", Mayor de Blasio said in a statement.

The mayor also said the city will commit up to $10 million to create new works of public art "honoring various communities that are underrepresented on city property".

The panel was brought together following the violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, which was met with opposition from neo-Nazi and other white supremacist groups. Some monuments were defaced - and one of Columbus in Yonkers was beheaded - over the summer. The new statue will likely stand near the 15th-century Italian explorer, which will receive new markers that describe his violent acts against indigenous populations.

The recommendations were made by members of the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers, who held five public meetings in the five boroughs late a year ago.

One statue that will be relocated is that of J. Marion Sims in Central Park at Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street. Considered the father of modern gynecology, Sims experimented by operating on slave women, with neither consent nor anesthesia.

The city will aim to "add context" to the marker and recommended removing the name "Canyon of Heroes" because it "mischaracterizes the installation as a celebration of heroic figures who, in some cases, do not reflect contemporary values of New York City".

A sidewalk marker in lower Manhattan's Canyon of Heroes installed during World War I to honor Henri Philippe Pétain for valor - who became a Nazi collaborator in World War II - will stay, even though de Blasio had tweeted a year ago that the plaque would be "one of the first we remove".

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 statue of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback in front of the Museum of Natural History, recently doused in red paint by activists, will stay put.

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