After igniting a heated controversy, city officials have finally authorized the move of the Triumph of Civic Virtue statue on Nov 13 to the Green -Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
The statue will be moved from its home in Queens near Borough Hall in Kew Gardens where it has been since 1941. Civic Virtue has been a subject of many news reports recently, specifically sparking debate among womens rights groups who labeled it as sexist.
Ann Jawin chair and founder of the Center for the Women of New York, a nonprofit organization that advocates women’s rights is glad about the move.
“For years we have objected to this statue because it is insulting to women, it’s a manifestation of male power,” Jawin said.
Jawin believes that the sculpture is not only demeaning and biased but sees it as a symbol of male oppression. She says that Civic Virtue brands males as being virtuous and women as evil.
The sculpture depicts a seminude man with a sword trampling over two women. The gigantic sculpted man on the statue is sometimes referred to as “Fat Boy,” or “Rough Boy.” History has it that Civic Virtue didn’t always get a warm welcome or the publicity it deserved even before it was unveiled in 1922.
Many people including art critics criticized it’s so called inelegance, while former public officials like Mayor Fiorello H La Guardia weren’t particularly impressed by it.
“There are some people who like it, they can have it, it is civil liberty, but it should not be a monument on a public space,” Jawin said.
The 22-ton statue, designed by sculptor Frederick MacMonnies in 1920, has had the reputation of being the best-traveled monument in New York history. It was first moved from the Bronx, where it was carved, to Manhattan it then moved to Queens in 1941, it will now settle permanently in Green -Wood .
“ The fact that it is in a private place puts a different perspective to it, it is not enforced. The whole issue is public space,” Jawin says.
The former Queens landmark might be replaced with a plaza dedicated to famous women from the borough, which might include renowned politicians such as the late congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro.
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall is advocating a public plaza that would honor women from the borough.
“It is my desire and my wish to create a public plaza and sitting area that will honor a woman or women from Queens. It will be a lasting memorial to the role that women have played in the course of our pursuit of equality, growth and progress,” Marshall said.