Statue of Christopher Columbus vandalized in Astoria, Queens

Jim Dolan Image
Friday, September 1, 2017
Statue of Christopher Columbus vandalized in Queens
Jim Dolan reports on the vandalism from Astoria, Queens.

ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) -- "Don't Honor Genocide" was spray painted in blue paint on the monument of Christopher Columbus in Queens.

This statue is the latest across the country to be marred by vandalism in the wake of the deadly Charlottesville rally.

It's all making many officials question whether New York City should remove monuments of other controversial figures.

An employee from the Sanitation Department spent just about his whole day working on it, but try as he might, he just couldn't wash it away.

"It's against America," said Adrianna, a parkgoer.

Folks stopped in Columbus Triangle Park in Astoria, to take pictures of the vandalism of the statue of Christopher Columbus Thursday.

Someone had written with a stubborn blue paint over a stencil: "Don't honor genocide," a reference to Columbus' actions as a conqueror after he landed in 1492.

"He came to discover the new world and this is how he's treated," said Joe DiPietro, a parkgoer.

"How can you discover a country when there's people there already?" another said.

In the wake of the violence surrounding the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, many are reassessing statues and monuments.

Mayor Bill de Blasio established a panel to look at statues in the city, including those of Columbus.

A bust of Columbus in Yonkers had its head severed by vandals this week. Some who support the Astoria statue, see the vandalism as a fad.

"No one was doing this two weeks ago," Adrianna said.

Others agree with the vandals, that the statue should come down.

"People are realizing that we are blindly praising men like Christopher Columbus, when most of us don't even know the true history behind it," another parkgoer said.

"He's a homicidal, genocidal maniac," another said.

Others say that history is more complicated.

"Go look at every statue out there and there was history, you know, bad history and good history. So you know, it's silly to focus on that," a parkgoer said.

"It has to stop, I mean, what's next? Mount Rushmore?" DiPietro said.

Erasing the blue paint will be difficult, but nowhere near as hard as making everyone happy when it comes time for the mayor to decide which statues stay and which must come down.