New York’s City Council — which just passed a budget that’s already been deemed a flop — is now spending some of its time advancing a plan that could kill off monuments honoring figures such as George Washington.
The Democratic-led council’s Cultural Affairs Committee is set to hold a public hearing Tuesday on a proposal to yank artworks from city property dedicated to historical figures such as George Washington, Peter Stuyvesant and Christopher Columbus because of their controversial pasts.
But critics immediately branded the effort as cancel culture run amok.
“Columbus was a migrant!’’ fumed Angelo Vivolo, president of the Columbus Heritage Coalition.
The Cultural Affairs Committee’s upcoming hearing involves legislation that would require the city’s Public Design Commission to publish a plan to remove works of art on Big Apple property “that depict a person who owned enslaved persons or directly benefited economically from slavery, or who participated in systemic crimes against indigenous peoples or other crimes against humanity.”
If the commission determines that a statue or monument honors a person who committed crimes against humanity but votes not to remove the artwork, it would require the city to install an “explanatory plaque” about the misdeeds of the historical figure, according to the bill authored by Brooklyn Council Sany Nurse and co-sponsored by 16 other lawmakers.
“This bill would also require the Department of Transportation to consult with the Department of Education to install plaques on sidewalks or other public space adjacent to schools that are named after a person that fits the criteria,” Nurse said in a memo explaining the bill.
There are more than a half-dozen monuments on city property honoring slave-holder Washington, also America’s first president and revolutionary hero — including in Washington Square Park and Union Square Park.
Peter Stuyvesant, a Dutch governor, early New York settler and a slaveholder, has a statue in Stuyvesant Park, and prestigious Stuyvesant High School is named after him.
Other famous slaveholders who have schools in the city named after them include John Jay (CUNY’s John Jay College) and Dewitt Clinton (Dewitt Clinton HS).
Columbus, while lauded for discovering the new world, has been targeted for elimination from the public square for brutalizing native populations during his travels, and monuments of him have been taken down elsewhere.
“This is little more than an attempt by the radical left to rewrite our nation’s history,” said Joann Ariola (R-Queens). “These men all had an enormous impact on this country, and these statues commemorating their achievements have been in place for decades.