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Goodbye, Columbus: Decapitated statue won't be going back to waterfront park

NorthendWaterfront.com reports the city will replace the beheaded Chris with a statue representing Italian immigrants in Christopher Columbus Park.

Instead, what's left of his head will be reassembled and the whole fragile statue given to the Knights of Columbus for inclusion in its its new apartment building for seniors in the North End.

Columbus was most recently decapitated on June 9. Restoration experts hired by the Boston Art Commission concluded the head could be repaired, but it would be permanently scarred and that protecting the statue against another attack might not work.

The statue had stood in its eponymous park since 1979, commissioned by a pro-Vietnam War activist from Dedham.



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Maybe just bring the head back and stick it on the pedestal with "Christopher Columbus - Sic Semper Tyrannis" as the new inscription


This is a good outcome. Columbus Day is about Italian immigrants becoming Americans, not about Columbus himself.

Columbus Day is a holiday because the Italians wanted to be viewed as Americans, not "others", in the very late 1800s through the first 1/3 of the 1900s. Their "in" was to point out that an Italian discovered America.

This, of course, is absurd. But it doesn't reflect the absurdity of Italian-Americans -- it reflects the absurdity of the WASPs who espoused bigotry toward Italians, both because of their darker skin and because of their religion.

Columbus Day as a federal holiday marks the turning point -- when people in America of Italian heritage became, culturally, Americans.

But before you get too excited, Italian Americans make up 6% of Americans, and it used to be much larger, but we've never had a US President or Vice President who claims Italian descent. And, the five biggest contenders for POTUS or VPOTUS -- Cuomo, Pastore, Rodino, Alioto, and Ferraro -- all faced anti-Italian bigotry and negative media images in their campaigns.



Columbus Day is about Italian immigrants becoming Americans

This makes no sense, and not simply because Columbus sailed under the Spanish flag and never set foot on the mainland.

There are so many other wonderful and vastly more relevant things to pin such a celebration upon. Like the origins of the name "America" for starters.

As for the politicians, well, Geraldine Ferraro had a different bigotry problem and the rest were seen outside of the east coast as far too focused on the east coast and not literate in the ways of anything west of Ohio.


I agree that it makes no sense, but it is why we have the current holiday.



This is the frustration with the "Columbus Day shouldn't be a holiday!!1!1!!1!" movement, one by people who never bothered to ask why it's a holiday in the first place.

Yes, really. The above explanation is really why. And when faced with it, rather than poke around on google, you just pushed back, demonstrating no interest in listening or learning about culture and history of a different group of people.

Then you pushed back on the anti-Italian bigotry the candidates faced. You diminished it, blaming it on other bigotries that fit your preferred narrative, or blaming it on the candidates themselves.

So yeah, really.


It also has to do with Italians becoming white. Southern Europeans weren't considered white in the 19th and early 20th century. American has never really become less racist, it's just come to view more kinds of people as "white". Italians, like all other white people, had to buy into white supremacy in order to join the ranks of whiteness and Columbus is a great mascot for it.

Next stop Plymouth Rock


Plymouth Rock used to be larger. Souvenir-hunting vandals chipped away at it for many years, which is why the current fenced enclosure was built. They even broke it in half once. Never underestimate the human ability to disrespect history. Sometimes, the disrespect is deserved, but it's dished out fairly universally. Personally, I wouldn't mind if somebody gave Stone Mountain, GA a nice, fresh rock face.


and maybe the park could be renamed after them as well. Locals, Italians, I think they even lived in the North End?


Make it a space for artworks designed and constructed by local artists and changed every year or so. Boston has enough monuments and needs more art.


Already happening, right now: The Shape of Play

Keep projects like this coming. Better than a monument which is largely ignored.

My only complaint (which is minor) is that they should make a point of limiting the grants to artists who live and work in or near Boston.


Tom Menino.


Replacing it is the best outcome... second only to leaving the headless statue there as a warning to other statues celebrating a terrible person :)


prior to any good resulting, the bad often comes first. Sometimes the good has triumphed over the bad, other times, not so much.


That’s a statue for a statue’s sake.

Restoration experts...concluded... that protecting the statue against another attack might not work.

You can say that about anything. You could plant a rose bush and say "I can't guarantee an attacker won't destroy it.".


Why is a replacement statue needed, such a waste of public funds?

Deserve a statue and the North End is the right place. Why they put the Irish Potato Famine statue in Downtown I have no idea. It would have made more sense in Roxbury which was deprived of a statue back in the 1960's.

How about replacing it with a statue of Jebediah Springfield?