Rep. Anthony Weiner Wants ‘Sexist’ Queens Statue Removed

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Congressman Anthony Weiner is taking a stand against a statue in Queens that has been a source of controversy for nearly 90 years.

Triumph of Civic Virtue” has stood on the corner of Queens Boulevard and Union Turnpike, near the Queens Borough Hall, since 1941. The 20-foot marble fountain, designed by renowned sculptor Frederick MacMonnies and carved by the Bronx’s Piccirilli Brothers, was relocated to Kew Gardens after standing in Manhattan’s City Hall Park for 19 years.

“Triumph” was apparently exiled to Queens by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia who reportedly grew tired of being “mooned” by the statue on a daily basis.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones with Rep. Anthony Weiner who says the statue does not represent civic virtue

The statue features a nude, muscled man holding a sword behind his head standing atop two bare-chested mermaids, who look more like Medusa than Ariel, slithering at his feet.

The statue is meant to portray civic virtue triumphing over vice and corruption, however, many have found it offensive for decades. Its allegorical portrayal of vice as female caused a stir following its unveiling in 1922 — which was just two years after the 19th Amendment was passed.

Weiner wants it off the city streets. He and city council member Julissa Ferreras want to propose selling the statue on Craigslist to raise funds.

“It doesn’t represent civic virtue of any sort, it represents an eyesore,” Weiner said. He adds that what passed for clever symbolism in 1920 is now “sexist.”

“What they see is this 20-foot man stepping on two women, and that’s what’s registered, and that’s what they walk away with,” Councilwoman Ferreras said.

NYU professor Carol Krinsky said the statue is an example of artistic allegory, and it’s not meant to be taken literally.

“These are not women being stepped on,” she told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello. “These are representations of evil, they are allegories of vice.”

Weiner said the statue is simply out of place in this day and age.

“The allegory grew out of a sexist notion,” he said.

Some community leaders, who for years have been looking to restore the decaying statue, want “Triumph” to stay. One architect calls the statue “priceless art.”

“We should be looking to restore and preserve it, not desecrate and destroy it,” Kew Gardens resident Richard Iritano said.

The head of Community Board 9, Mary Ann Carey, agrees.

“We should revere it, and be proud of it, and conserve it,” she said.

“This isn’t about art,” said Weiner. “People can choose to view the things that they like – – no one’s saying art should not be created. But, it’s a question of whether it should be on display in Queens as somehow a demonstration of the art that we celebrate. It clearly isn’t, and I think we should get rid of it.”

Do you find the statue offensive? Let us know below

More from Al Jones
  • Antilibturd

    Weinee just wants it replaced with a statue of his diminutive package! bwahahahaha!

  • MDWhite

    Funny…moral pontification on sexism from Lil’ Tony “It May Be My Wiener” Wiener. What’s next…more posturing on nepotism from Barney “Basement Boy” Frank?

    Libs. Hypocrites all.

  • Will

    I grew up with “the fat guy with the sword”. Manhattan didn’t want him, he’s OURS!

    If the statue is an “eyesore”, it is because the rulers of this one-party borough have let it degenerate into one instead of cleaning it.

    Tony Whiner and his boss Schumer should go back to witch-hunting “right-wing Republicans” who want to restrict wiretapping, or denouncing people murdered by the revenooers for unfashionable religious beliefs.

  • Ivan Mrakovcic

    They’re NOT Women – they are chunks of marble, crafted to depict corruption in the guise of serpents! Are they female?; I didn’t check. I’ll grant you they may be Baroque and anachronistic but a society that casts away art because of one (1) superficial interpretation is not too far away from a society that endorses book-burning. What’s next: do we decimate statues of Columbus (ringer of the death-knell of indigenous native cultures) or slave-owning past Presidents? Perhaps Fiorello had a Napoleonic complex ad didn’t like looking a ‘Fat Boy’? If we are to cast away important Public Art – let’s at least be consistent. Perhaps our Congressional representatives and Council Members from distant Districts should have consulted the opinions of the local community board? We’re better than that and NOW: we are all agreed that Civic Virtue should be restored and remain in Kew Gardens.

  • Carol

    Having grown up in Queens and lived only blocks away from this beautiful monument, I can sincerely say that I will miss it dearly if it is left to crumble to dust, or worse yet, consigned to the trash heap.

    Make no mistake about it, this monument is a gorgeous work of art and is one that rivals many of the best to which tourists flock by the thousands all over Rome.

    Do we want to let the ‘politically correct’ thought police destroy it? I think not. Let them take a good course, instead, in art appreciation, and good care in restoring it to its original beauty.

  • RegoParkresident

    Another grandstanding by Mr. Wiener. Phony outbursts on the floor of the House is not enough, he needs to find something closer to the home ground for future run for Mayor.
    Next step will be his Met Museum tour with suggestions of selling or destroying something he finds “sexist” or “offensive” there…
    Of course, it’s much easier to remove, destroy than to restore and explain to those who have no idea of what allegory means.
    Shame on you, Representative Weiner.

    • Katherine

      I assure you I understand what an allegory is. Perhaps you don’t understand that allegories can stem from “sexist” preconceptions, and that simply yelling “it’s an allegory stupid!” does not end debate on the issue. In this particular instance, the artist described his work by explaining that the male figure represented strength, whereas the female figures represented temptation. Why would the artist use such allegorical representations? Can you not see how one could interpret the artist’s portrayal of virtue as a masculine trait and temptation as a female trait as being steeped in misogynist assumptions?

      I should make it clear that in contentious issues such as these I tend to lean towards artistic freedom. For that reason I am reluctant to support Rep Weiner in his efforts to have the statue removed. However, I would caution against the assumption that everyone who disagrees with you is uneducated and has “no idea of what allegory means”. To say the least it is intellectually lazy.

  • jawbone

    I do not want another Giuliani-type art censor in NYC. Please, Anthony, stick to actually implementing single payer health CARE, OK?

  • Michael Schmitt

    Feminazis want any and all representations of males to be destroyed.

  • Clarence

    It’s a symbolic statue of a man standing on two SIRENS.

    You know, those Greek legend monsters that lured sailors to their doom with their sexy singing from rocks along coasts?

    People that take offense at this statue and its classical symbolism need to get a life, and that goes double for women who like the “Devil” (evil incarnate) being a man, but wish to whine because in this statue ti’s females symbolizing vice.

  • Pacific Northwest Guy

    It is amusing, yet disturbing to see an elected public official demand a statue symbolizing civic virtue triumphing over vice and corruption be removed from his view. That means Representative Anthony Weiner is corrupt and full of vice. And that my fellow citizen is the path to tyranny.

  • Dunning

    Sure, uh yes it is sexist. Send it t me so they can decide to be offended by something else. Heck, I’ll even come and get it!

  • jaypee

    Weiner’s obviously got too much time on his hands to be complaining about artwork. We will remember on election day

  • Mark Cento

    The statue was placed there in 1941 – 70 years ago and people are just starting to complain??? Also Weiner says it’s offensive – offensive to whom??

    Another question to ask is Why all of sudden does Weiner wanted it removed??? Who wants the parcel of property? and What is going to go there in it’s place?

    And doesn’t Weiner have better things to do then being an art critic???

    • Alicia

      Aaaaaaactually, if you’d read even the first sentence of this article, you’d see that it’s “been a source of controversy” since it was made. And then later on it mentions that it caused a stir when it was unveiled. And…well, you get the idea. Sorry to stomp all over your uninformed indignation!

  • Bj

    Weiner is only upset b/c the statue’s is bigger than his…

  • Susanna

    this is another one coming from a country where people find breast feeding in public offensive! sent your young people to Europe to give them an idea of art and culture!

  • cincinnatus

    Next he will start burning books that offend him.

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