The City’s decision to allow the removal of “The Triumph of Civic Virtue” – a statue that has resided outside Queens Borough Hall since the 1940s – to a cemetery in Brooklyn is a regrettable decision that will rob Queens of a well-known local landmark and an historic artistic piece that is part of the Borough’s landscape.
The statue’s removal is indicative of a greater issue within the Borough, that City would rather replace aging and dilapidated Queens landmarks instead of spending the money to rehabilitate them.
Look no further than the Fountain of Planets in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the area proposed to be replaced by a new soccer stadium. Once a key part of the World’s Fairs that took place there, that section of the park has now been closed off for years. The City has no plans to renovate, other than to build over it.
Outside Borough Hall, the office of the Borough President has already started to make plans to replace “Civic Virtue” with a new monument, honoring the contributions of women to Queens, in response to the controversy over the statue. While the monument to women is a fine idea, why is it a more palatable idea to build a new structure rather than maintain what we already have?
Instead of allowing these historic parts of Queens to be replaced, we should be restoring them, maintaining them and using them to teach future generations what has come before. Anything less would be uncivilized.