Ahead of Monday’s Columbus Day holiday, the NYPD will be offering 24-hour protection to the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle to thwart additional vandalism to the 125-year-old statue.
On Sept. 23, a homeless man put pink nail polish on the bronze relief of Columbus on the base of the 70-foot pedestal the statue sits atop. The man said he used the nail polish to represent blood on Columbus’ hands as many demand his namesake October federal holiday to be renamed Indigenous People’s Day due to the explorer’s treatment of the people who inhabited the lands he discovered.
At least three of the city’s five statues of Columbus have been defaced by paint or graffiti recently. Red paint was splashed on the Columbus statue in Central Park on Sept. 12, and just weeks earlier, one in Astoria was defaced to read, “Don’t honor genocide.”
The removal of Columbus statues and Confederate monuments have become a hot-point issue across the nation, especially in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently created a commission to decide the fate of city monuments that may be deemed offensive,
One or two NYPD police officers will work eight-hour shifts to keep watch over the monument in Columbus Circle, the New York Post reported. The statue is currently surrounded by metal barricades.
The department has not yet responded to a request from Metro regarding how much the 24-hour detail will cost.
The Columbus statue has been in Columbus Circle since 1892, when it was erected by the city to honor the 400th anniversary of the explorer landing in the Americas.