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Proposed NYC Fighter Fighters 911 Memorial

NYC-Walks-Blog-9b-Three-Firemen-911-Memorial-Proposal

Eleanor Roosevelt was on the opposite side of the issues of the day. The monument, honoring humanitarian and First Lady Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), was dedicated at 72nd Street and Riverside Drive inside Riverside Park on October 5, 1996 in the presence of Hillary Rodham Clinton, First Lady of the United States. Penelope Jencks was the sculptor. A new landscape on the site of a former West Side Highway access ramp was designed by Bruce Kelly/David Varnell Landscape Architects. https://www.nycgovparks.org/park-features/riverside-park/virtual-tour/eleanor-roosevelt-monument In 1943 Eleanor Roosevelt visited the internment camp at Gila River, Arizona. She immediately started campaigning to assist confined Japanese Americans, who had been put here on orders of her husband. Five years later, she was instrumental as the US delegate to the United Nations to the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

A better case can be made to update the historical figures inside Central Park There are twenty-two historical statues of men but also  no female statues inside Central Park except for thee allegorical figures that include Mother Goose and Alice in Wonderland. Some may no longer deserve to be in the park because they are no longer famous or what they did was infamous including one surgeon J. Marion Sims who used slaves to conduct medial research.  Mitchell Silver, commissioner of the New York City parks department, who overturned a 60-year-old moratorium on permanent installations within the park. In May of 2015, the department granted the approval to erect statues of Stanton and Anthony at the West 77th Street entrance. A group lead by Coline Jenkins, the great-great granddaughter of suffragette leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton, now just has to raise the money. She hopes to have this accomplished by August 2020.

Another solution is to move a statue to a less conspicuous place of honor.  Civic Virtue Triumphant Over Unrighteousness has been a controversial sculpture group and fountain, ever since it was commissioned by Mayor George B. McClellan of New York in 1909.  It was created by sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies and architect Thomas Hastings, and carved by the Piccirilli Brothers. The fountain was originally placed in front of New York City Hall in Manhattan, in 1922.

 

Mayor Fiorello La Guardia hated the sculpture. He called it “Fat Boy”, and resented being confronted with the male figure’s naked buttocks each day as he left City Hall.  When Queens erected a new Borough Hall in 1940, LaGuardia seized the opportunity and gave the fountain to Queens in February 1941. It spent almost 72 years beside Queens Borough Hall on Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens.  The fountain was the site of a 1972 feminist demonstration.  In 1987, Queens Borough’s first woman president, Claire Shulman, proposed that the statue be moved: “A municipal building is not an appropriate place for a statue that portrays women as evil and treacherous.”  Finally, in 2012 the sculpture was exiled to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. (This paragraph is largely taken from Wikipedia.)

Then there is an effort to rewrite history.  Snopes.com reports in “NYC Firefighters Memorial Inaccuracies:  Has a Memorial to NYC Firefighters has been rendered in a historically inaccurate way?” that {George Johnson, and Billy Eisengrein raising a flag on a pole anchored in about 20 feet of rubble at the World Trade Center touched us in a way comparable to how the famed picture of the Iwo Jima flag-raising stirred our parents’ and grandparents’ hearts in World War II. A rendition of it cast in bronze was planned as a memorial to the hundreds of New York City firefighters who lost their lives on September 11. It was to have been placed in front of fire headquarters at the MetroTech Center in Brooklyn.

The controversial memorial would not have been historically accurate, however, as two of the three firefighters who raised the flag that day were to be restyled as Hispanic and black figures in the 19-foot, $180,000 statue. The facial features of the actual firefighters were not going to be used — the artists had selected three professional models to pose for the piece, and the clay model unveiled in December 2001 reflected their interpretation of the famous Thomas E. Franklin photo.

The New York Fire Department initially defended the proposed statue design, saying it accurately represented the 343 department members killed in the attacks. “Ultimately, a decision was made to honor no one in particular but everyone who made the supreme sacrifice,” said Frank Gribbon, a spokesman for the FDNY.

The “accuracy” of that representation was questionable: only 2.7% of the city’s 11,495 firefighters are black, and 3.2% are Hispanic. Twelve of the 343 firefighters who died were black, and twelve were Hispanic.

Even while still in the planning stages, the memorial was already controversial. Those who viewed it as a monument to self-sacrifice embraced the racial adjustment, because to their minds the finished statue would better impart the message of everyone’s striving together. Those who held that monuments and memorials to actual events and real people should be historically accurate rather than idealized versions were outraged by the proposed alteration.

The firestorm of public opinion resulted in the statue’s donor, developer Bruce Ratner, scrapping plans for this particular testimonial to heroism.” http://www.snopes.com/rumors/memorial.asp

One thing about snowflakes is that they can never be satisfied.  They will simply move on to the next cause of alleged injustice because America is always evil and can never become a better country.  Perhaps, the best solution is no statues because we can have no heroes. No one is perfect enough to merit the recognition.

 

Greg B. Smith in “A Look at NYC’s Most Controversial Monuments as City Weighs whether to remove iconic statues” in the Daily News of 2 September 2017” lists some other statues that may be  politically incorrect.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/city-remove-nyc-iconic-statues-article-1.3464427

NYC Blog 9 PC Statues – Part III:  Sculptures of Women and the Proposed NYC Fighter Fighters 911 Memorial © 2017 by Dr. Philip Ernest Schoenberg #ghost

 

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