What to Know
- It's the third Columbus statue in New York in the last few weeks to be vandalized; one in Queens had graffiti, one in Yonkers was beheaded
- The vandalism comes in the wake of national fallout from deadly protests and counter-protests over a Confederate statue in Charlottesville
- Those protests have led to calls for more public tributes to be removed, including a push in NYC to remove the Columbus Circle statue
A famous sculpture of Christopher Columbus that has stood in Central Park for more than a century has been vandalized, the latest in a series of such incidents involving statues of the explorer in the city and across the country.
Video from the scene showed red paint apparently splashed on the hands of the statue Tuesday morning.
Graffiti found on the base of the statue read, "Hate will not be tolerated" and "#Somethingscoming."
Parks workers were seen cleaning up the area before noon.
The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society commissioned Spanish sculptor Jeronimo Sunol to build the bronze portrait sculpture to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus' voyage in 1492. It was unveiled on May 12, 1894 and last refurbished by the Central Park Conservancy in 1993.
A message has been left with the Central Park Conservancy seeking comment.
Less than two weeks ago, a statue of Columbus was vandalized in Queens, blue paint sprayed on the base of the structure in Columbus Triangle. The vandals had used stencils to spray the words "Don't honor genocide, take it down."
A day before that, the head was found torn off a Columbus statue in Yonkers' Columbus Memorial Park, a mile north of the Bronx.
The vandalism comes in the wake of national fallout from deadly protests and counter-protests over a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month. Those protests have led to calls for more public tributes to be removed, including a push in New York City to remove the Columbus Circle statue in light of the figure’s oppression of Native Americans.
The Columbus Circle statue has been suggested for review by a commission examining items deemed "symbols of hate" on New York City property. Gov. Cuomo has said he is in favor of keeping the statue where it is. He said he's not disputing that the explorer did harm to indigenous people, but that the statue "is really about honoring Italian-Americans" and their contributions to New York.
Mayor de Blasio recently announced the commission, which could recommend removing some monuments.
"The mayor thinks vandalism is wrong and never the right approach to these conversations or monuments," de Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips told News 4 Tuesday. "There’s an important place for public dialogue and that’s why the mayor’s put together a panel of experts to thoughtfully and efficiently organize that process. Vandalism isn’t the answer."
On a national scale, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and California Rep. Barbara Lee introduced a measure last week to remove all Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.