The controversial Columbus Circle statue of Christopher Columbus has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. It will remain standing.
Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement in a statement on Thursday:
The National Park Service last month added the 126-year-old, 76-foot statue near Central Park to its list of protected landmarks.
The Columbus Monument is revered by the Italian-American community in New York and stands as a tribute to the ways our state has welcomed immigrants from around the globe. I am proud that we were able to secure this designation, which will help ensure the history of all cultures that make up our uniquely diverse state is always recognized.
After a number of Confederate monuments were removed in southern states, Mayor Bill de Blasio formed a committee to review certain controversial statues which symbolized hate.
Some Italian-American groups protested the review of the Columbus Circle statue, as it was erected by their ancestors in 1892 in an effort to overcome prejudice against against Italians at the time.
But critics who argued for it to be removed reiterated the genocide and enslavement of indigenous people by Christopher Columbus the statue represents. The statue was also vandalized in 2017, spray painted with the words “Hate will not be tolerated, something is coming”.
In response to the protests, De Blasio has stated that an additional plaque or monument would be erected nearby in order to tell the full story.