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Columbus statue in Central Park vandalized with ominous message

The Christopher Columbus statue in Central Park was

The Christopher Columbus statue in Central Park was vandalized with graffiti and paint on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, police said. The graffiti had been removed by city personnel by Tuesday afternoon. Photo Credit: Alison Fox

A statue of Christopher Columbus was found vandalized in Central Park on Tuesday with its hands painted red and graffiti on its base, police said.

The statue, near 66th Street on the east side of the park, was discovered by a Central Park Conservancy worker at about 7 a.m., according to police.

The statue, first cast in 1892, had red hands and the words “Hate will not be tolerated,” and “#Somethingscoming” were written in white on the base.

The statue was already fully cleaned by city personnel by Tuesday afternoon. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force was notified of the graffiti, and the investigation is ongoing.

Several New Yorkers enjoying Central Park on Tuesday disagreed with the idea of vandalizing any property.

“It’s not OK to vandalize the statues whether you agree or not with the character,” said Raluca Diana Bulai, 37, of Astoria. “There are ways of expressing your disagreement, just don’t write on the statue.”

Franco Puccio, 71, of Ridgewood, said he thinks historical statues should be left alone.

“Any defacing is bad,” Puccio said. “It could be Christopher Columbus or anybody else — it’s wrong, it’s a crime.”

The vandalism comes at a time of heightened awareness about monuments and memorials around the city and across the country. 

A white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, held in response to the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in August turned violent when protester Heather Heyer was killed. Widespread condemnation ensued, including protests in New York City. 

Following the Charlottesville rally, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would form a commission to review controversial memorials and statues on city property. He announced the members of an 18-person commission on Friday, including singer Harry Belafonte, city Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl and Ford Foundation president Darren Walker.

The mayor’s office has not returned a request for comment on the vandalism. A spokeswoman for the Central Park Conservancy declined to comment.

With Lauren Cook


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