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Queens Chronicle

Former statue site stuck in neutral

Remnants of ‘Triumph of Civic Virtue’ will remain unaltered in the short term

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 10:59 am, Thu Jan 16, 2014.

The site of the former “The Triumph of Civic Virtue” statue outside Borough Hall will have to wait a little longer for a makeover.

The pedestal is all that remains at the statue’s former site on Queens Boulevard, as the sculpture was relocated to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery in December 2012.

Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) has previously said that there will be no progress until after the new year, once the newly inaugurated Melinda Katz assumes the borough presidency. On Tuesday, Koslowitz affirmed that any action at the site is still some ways away.

“There’s been so much going on that it’s not the top priority right now,” Koslowitz said. “As soon as we get the opportunity, I would love to sit down with Melinda and discuss it. It’s really up to her schedule.”

Ideas for the beautification of the site have been discussed as recently as October, when Koslowitz reiterated her support for a pedestrian plaza dedicated to influential women from Queens to be erected.

A design of such a promenade was brought forth by the Parks Department to then-Borough President Helen Marshall, but she did not approve of it and requested a different one.

A meeting to discuss a second design was canceled two weeks later, and the issue has been on hold ever since.

Last April, however, a different design was created by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. Described as a landscape folly, the original fountain base would serve as a planted ruin featuring wildflowers and other kinds of shrubbery.

Community activist Jon Torodash, who ran against Koslowitz for her City Council seat in November, believes that both potential designs pale in comparison to what really should be there, the statue itself.

“There was no need to have it hauled off to Brooklyn,” Torodash said. “With a string of three female borough presidents and the naming of Geraldine Ferraro Way, at what point will the councilwoman be satisfied with the adornment of women?”

In addition to criticizing Koslowitz for her opinion that the statue, which featured a man representing virtue standing on top of two women who represented vice, is sexist, Torodash also called on Katz to focus on the aging site.

“You can quote me on this. Mr. Torodash would like to know what education the councilwoman has had in art history in order to make such a judgment? The answer is zero,” he said. “[Katz] will be busy with the curtains and new engravings indoors. Well, how about the big one out front?”

Koslowitz could not be reached again for a response to his criticisms.

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