A larger than life statue of Christopher Columbus in Central Park was defiled by vandals on Tuesday, as it was discovered with the words, “Hate will not be tolerated,” on its pedestal in red and white spray paint.
The vandal also left an ominous threat, spray-painted in hashtag form: “#somethingscoming.”
An employee for the Central Park Conservancy, which oversees the park’s maintenance, discovered the vandalism at around 7 a.m., according to the New York Post. The statue is located at the foot of the Mall walkway near Center Drive.
A paper sign was also attached to the statue, reading, “[S]ave your soul,”
New York City citizens had mixed reactions.
“It reflects a lot of what’s going on in the world right now and this country … it’s about the unrest in the world,” said Sheri Berger, 54, as she was walking her dog through the green space.
Still, Berger noted, “It bothers me to see [the graffiti]. It’s not positive, it’s destructive.”
Those visiting from the south found the act of vandalism disgusting.
Lois Hammett, a Tennessee tourist visiting Central Park, called the vandalism “disgraceful.”
“That’s the first thing I’ve seen in New York that makes me feel saddened and angry,” Hammett said, adding, “We have legal ways of protesting.”
More-liberal citizens said they were less concerned with the incident.
“People are expressing their freedom of speech … I’d rather see that than violence. We’re reflecting on our past and terrible things that happened,” said Brooklynite Sallyanne T., 35.
The statue itself was already on the hot seat as part of the national conversation surrounding monuments to controversial figures.
City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito urged that the 76-foot structure honoring Columbus at Columbus Circle be reviewed for potential removal.
“I would definitely encourage them to take a look at that one, as well,” Mark-Viverito said at the time, in reference to the statue.
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