Since 1941, the statue, depicting a seminude man holding a sword and standing over what appears to be two women, has stood near Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens. However, the statue has sparked debate recently among those who deem the statue sexist and degrading and requested that it be removed.
“For years we have objected to this statue because it is insulting to women,” said Ann Jawin, the chair and founder of the Center for Women of New York, a nonprofit organization that advocates women’s rights. “It’s a manifestation of male power.”
The city's Design Commission quietly approved the move on Nov. 13, and the statue will soon reside on Jasmine and Garland avenues, on permanent loan to the cemetery, if the transfer is not stopped.
Some public officials don't agree with the move.
“This great work of art belongs to the people of Queens, and it should be kept in place and restored to its former glory here,” said Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr.
Vallone said that he believed the women in the picture were mythological representations of sirens.
Since the 22-ton statue was designed by sculptor Frederick MacMonnies in 1920, it has fallen into disrepair. It first stood in City Hall Park in Manhattan, but so disgusted then-Mayor Fiorello LaGuradia that he had it moved to Queens.
MacMonnies is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, and his family members have reached out to help pay for the transportation and renovation of the statue.