Weiner, Ferraras call for sexist statue to be sold on Craigslist
by Lisa A. Fraser
Mar 01, 2011 | 1362 views | 1 1 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It is a statue that is said to represent the victory of good over evil. Called "Civic Virtue," it was handed over to Queens in 1941 by former Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia after being stationed in front of City Hall for a number of years.

Conspicuously located at Union Turnpike and Queens Boulevard near Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, the statue depicts a naked man standing on top of two female sea serpents, "stomping" out the vices of society.

The statue is the creation Brooklyn sculptor Frederick MacMonnies.

But Congressman Anthony Weiner and Councilwoman Julissa Fererras call the statue "sexist," and in a press conference held on Friday, they called for the statue to be put up for sale on Craigslist. To illustrate their point, the pari have already offered up the statue in the "free" portion of the website.

"It doesn't represent civic virtue of any sort," Weiner said. "This is not about art. I believe in public art, but that doesn't mean that we don't have a right to say forcefully some art is offensive to us and we think it should go."

The representatives are putting the statue on the free part of Craigslist for the taking.

Ferreras, who chairs the Women's Issues Committee of the City Council called the statue offensive.

"One of biggest things we do in my office is make sure that women are sent to the Family Justice Center after they've been identified as victims of domestic violence, that's the very center that's one block from here," Ferreras said.

"So women get off at this stop and look at this statue of a man standing 20 feet high stepping on two women," she continued, "and then have to go and get services for domestic violence a block away. This is not the message that the city should be sending."

The statue has been significantly worn down over time, and according to the Department of Parks and Recreation it could cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix.

Weiner drafted a letter to the commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Edna Wells, asking that the statue be sold on Craigslist.

\Weiner and Ferreras were joined by Chelsey Winchell of the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee, a democratic activist organization along with Ann Jawin, head of the Center for the Women of New York, and Jessica Ramos, district leader of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona.

"To have this here in Queens County, especially since this is the most diverse county where women come for a better way of life, where women come to flee that depiction, it's a little abhorrent," Ramos said.

The statue, prominently located near an E train exit and close to the bustling hub of buses, has its supporters. Richard Iritano is one resident who disagreed with Weiner.

"This is a priceless work of 20th century art," he said. "These are not human life forms. I would think that Congresswoman Weiner and the community here that represents Kew Gardens would be more interested in empowering women by attacking the sex trades and global prostitution, than by worrying about a statue."

Danielle Douglas, a St. John's University student, agreed with Weiner and Ferreras.

"I can't believe it's here in the first place, I don't understand why they would want to refurbish it," she said.

But some passersby don't find an issue with it.

"I like it," said one Hollis resident.

Chris Morales of Brooklyn who works in Kew Gardens sees it as a "masterpiece artwork."

"I see people pass by and people sitting underneath it," he said. "I don't understand why all of a sudden it's a big deal."

Comments
(1)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
freshmanremixj
|
March 02, 2011
Are you kidding me? You are wasting your time with this frivolous arguement. The fact that the two females on that the statue is standing on are not human actually proves this debate ridiculous. Can you feminists actually empower women in area in a meaningful way instead of trying to change historical monuments. I really will not vote for another feminist to represent queens if this is the kind of subjects that bother them the most. Its frightening how distracted our leaders in new york have become.