A rally was held in New York by those who wish to see the removal of a statue of Christopher Columbus from where it has stood since the 1800’s.
The statue is currently under review by a special task force implemented by Mayor Bill de Blasio designed to remove ‘symbols of hate’ in New York City.
Friday night, demonstrators took to Columbus Circle where the statue is prominently displayed in a busy round-about at the base of Central Park, carrying signs that read: ‘Columbus didn’t discover America he invaded it.’
Demonstrators gathered in New York’s Columbus Circle to call on the city to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus from where it has stood since the 1800’s
The statue was offered as a gift to New York by the city’s Italian community in 1892
Christopher Columbus statue sits in Columbus Circle at the base of Central Park
Another sign called the statue ‘A tribute to racism and genocide.’
Columbus has been hailed in American-lore as discovering the new world on his expedition in 1492 on behalf on the Spanish empire. But critics note his cruel treatment of the native inhabitants of the Caribbean and South America and his active participation in the slave trade.
Mayor de Blasio’s call for reviews of various historical figures comes after the deadly events in Charlotesville, Virginia earlier this month where a rally was held to protest the removal of a Confederate statue.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is weighing decision on whether to remove statue of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus
The rally turned deadly when a car plowed into a group of demonstrators, killing 34-year-old Heather Heyer, who was protesting white supremacists.
On Friday morning at City Hall, there was another rally, this time for the Columbus statue to stay put.
‘It’s Columbus today and who knows who will be on this secret list tomorrow,’ Staten Island Councilmen Joe Borelli said Thursday, according to CBS New York. ‘This is an unfortunate chapter in New York City’s history.’
Comedian Joe Piscopo also spoke out about leaving the historical monument right where it is at the rally attended by politicians, individuals and community groups.
‘The one iconic symbol for Italian-Americans was Christopher Columbus. He’s flawed, we’re all flawed — hey, I’m flawed. Does that mean I’m not gonna get a rest stop named after me on the Jersey Turnpike?’ he said. ‘Stop the political correctness. The political correctness is killing us.’
The statue was offered as a gift to New York by the city’s Italian community in 1892, and groups such as the NYPD Columbia Association, which includes thousands of Italian American police officers, are fighting to keep the statue in place.
It’s not just Columbus who is under siege.
A New York statue of Peter Stuyvesant has also become a target of ire, following the call for the removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus.
The Peter Stuyvesant statue has become the newest target in the war on statues as a Jewish group wants to see it removed along with other Stuyvesant references in New York City
After Mayor Bill DeBlasio said he would erase all ‘symbols of hate’ in the city a Jewish activist group is calling for the removal of the Peter Stuyvesant statue in Manhattan and all traces of the Dutch governor and director general of the colony of New Netherland, which would later be named New York by the English.
‘Peter Stuyvesant was an extreme racist who targeted Jews and other minorities including Catholics and energetically tried to prohibit them from settling in then New Amsterdam,’ said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the head of the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center told the New York Post.
Mayor Bill deBlasio’s assertion that he would remove all ‘symbols of hate’ has provoked an avalanche of attacks on historical monuments in New York
‘New York, of all American cities, which boasts such important Jewish history and claims such a present day vibrant Jewish community, should take the lead in denouncing Stuyvesant’s bigotry.’
As a prominent New York historical figure, removing traces of Stuyvesant could prove a daunting task.
Then there’s Stuyvesant High School, the most prestigious of the public schools, which arguably accepts only the brightest students in the city.
If New York stops using Peter Stuyvesant’s name, what happens to Bed-Stuy
The premiere public high school in New York City is named after Peter Stuyvesant
Then there is the issue of the entire Brooklyn neighborhood called Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The statue of the man himself sits in Stuyvesant Town, a large cluster of private residential buildings that some would consider a New York neighborhood unto itself.
According to the New York Post, Stuyvesant, who had previously fount to allow the Jewish people who he described as ‘deceitful,’ ‘very repugnant’ and ‘blasphemous’ to settle after orders from the Dutch West India Company.
Darshan-Leitner suggests a name swap, replacing the name of Stuyvesant with that of Asher Levy, one of the first Jewish settlers in New Amsterdam.
A spokesman for the New Netherlands Institute, says the idea is ‘ridiculous’ and argues the ‘treasonous’ Confederates being taken down is entirely different.
‘This was about customs in the 17th century,’ said the spokesman, arguing that Stuyvesant opposed any religion outside of his own church to maintain social cohesion and due to ignorant ideas about disease,’ the spokesman told the Post.
‘They should talk about the history, but not start removing statues.’