HE took exception to last year’s trashings of statues of generally admired, relatively benign historical figures like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, et. al. But I agree 100% with the American Museum of Natural History’s Theodore Roosevelt statue (the one facing Central Park West) being removed because of odious symbolism — the horse-mounted Roosevelt, a believer in white superiority and eugenics, flanked by a Native American and an African American on foot.
The statue is toxic and needs to be retired — no question. But what would Robin Williams say if he were still with us? Not to mention Brian Keith? And what about the possibly vulnerable reputations of the Night at the Museum guys (director Shawn Levy, producer Chris Columbus, star Ben Stiller)? They didn’t mean any harm by having fun with Roosevelt’s manly rough-rider + conservationist legend, but now they’re absorbing a certain amount of…what’s the right term, “shade”?
6.22 N.Y. Times story, reported by Laura Zornosa: “The New York City Public Design Commission voted unanimously at a public meeting on Monday to relocate the statue by long-term loan to a cultural institution dedicated to the life and legacy of…former president Theodore Roosevelt.
“The vote follows years of protest and adverse public reaction over the statue as a symbol of colonialism, largely because of the Native American and African men who are depicted flanking Roosevelt on a horse. Those objections led the museum in June 2020 to propose removing the statue. New York City, which owns the building and property, agreed to the suggestion, and Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed his support.”