Vandals defaced the Christopher Columbus monument in Central Park, dousing the figure’s hands in red paint and scrawling “hate will not be tolerated” on the statue’s base in white letters. Below that, another line of graffiti reads: “#something’s coming.”
An NYPD spokesman told the West Side Rag that the vandalized century-old statue was discovered around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. Crews with the New York City Parks Department rushed to clean up the monument, which stands on the south side of the park near 65th Street.
Cops are investigating the vandalism, which happens to be the second such incident in the city in as many weeks. A Columbus statue in Astoria, Queens, was discovered spray-painted with the words “don’t honor genocide, take it down” in August. And also last month, up in Yonkers, someone beheaded a Columbus sculpture.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has convened an advisory panel that will review the city’s public art and statues, and make recommendations on what to do with “monuments seen as oppressive and inconsistent with the values of New York City.” The debate in New York comes as cities across the country grapple what to do with Confederate iconography, particularly in the wake of the deadly protests in Charlottesville last month.
Some local leaders have questioned (while others have staunchly defended) the monument of the explorer that towers in Columbus Circle. The statue was the source of some contention during the first Democratic mayoral primary debate, when de Blasio was asked about what he would do with the sculpture in Columbus Circle. De Blasio declined to give an opinion, saying his commission would examine that, and any other controversial monuments.