Long Island town wants discarded Columbus statues

MASSAPEQUA, Long Island (WABC) -- A town on Long Island is offering to take any statues of Christopher Columbus which are no longer wanted by municipalities across the country, including New York City. New York City is currently reviewing the status of all its landmarks.

Last month a movement began in New York City and across the country demanding the removal of statues of the 15th-century Italian explorer. For all his accomplishments, Columbus and his men have been accused of killing many native people.

The supervisor of the Town of Oyster Bay, Joseph Saladino, announced Monday that the town of Massapequa is eager to take any and all discarded Columbus statues. Massapequa has a large Italian-American population.

"What we're doing today sends a strong message that the public is tired of these attempts to remove or deface statues of Christopher Columbus. We just can't sit by idly and allow this to go on unchallenged any longer," Saladino said.

Saladino said the statues would be placed at the intersection of Broadway and Hicksville Road, which is known as the Massapequa Triangle - the center of town.

"We will not stand by and let Columbus' legacy be tarnished or slandered by misguided individuals who have no respect for history or heritage," said Town of Oyster Bay Councilman Louis Imbroto.

Saladino said town officials are in the process of reaching out to towns and cities which have expressed interest in removing their Columbus statues. No town money, he said, would be used to transport or erect them in Massapequa. Local Italian-American groups are raising money to cover those costs - if need be.

"What are we fighting for in this country? We're fighting to keep America, America. What made America? And that goes back to Christopher Columbus," said Albert Celeste, a Farmingdale resident.

A spokesperson for New York City told Eyewitness News, "We've appointed a commission to review city landmarks. They'll make the decision on any alterations. There are no plans to move any of them, much less to Massapequa."
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