Courtesy of the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers
Interested parties are encouraged to voice their opinions via the commission’s online survey at http://www1.nyc.gov/site/monuments/survey/monuments-survey.page
By Michael V. Cusenza
The panel that will advise the mayor on issues surrounding public art and historic monuments and markers on City-owned property on Friday held the first of five hearings – one in each borough – at Borough Hall, where Queens residents had the opportunity to share their ideas about Gotham’s tributes in public space.
In September, in the wake of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed the 18-member Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers to review all City monuments over a 90-day period, even insisting that tributes to Italian-American icon Christopher Columbus would not be spared scrutiny.
“There is an important conversation taking place right now about history and representation in public art, monuments and markers,” de Blasio said two months ago. “Our diverse group of experts will create a thoughtful set of guidelines that acknowledge the complexities of history and the values that matter to us as New Yorkers.”
De Blasio’s decision even to appoint a commission has been controversial. Late last month, City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) unveiled a new bi-partisan bill that would require a majority vote of the council before removing statues on City property.
“This bill would block de Blasio and his hand-picked cronies from deciding the fate of any statue on City property,” Ulrich said. “For so many New Yorkers, the Christopher Columbus statue serves as a symbol of the many profound contributions of Italians to American history. We live in a democracy, and it is a disgrace that I need to introduce legislation to restore transparency.”