NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was more fallout Tuesday, from ‘statue-gate’ as Italian American leaders said they would boycott Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Columbus Day celebration, and withhold financial support.
Workers were erecting the grandstand for the Columbus Day parade, but even before the grand marshal takes his first steps down Fifth Avenue, there is a new controversy.
Furious Italian Americans said ‘hell no, we won’t go’ to Mayor de Blasio’s annual Columbus Day soiree at Gracie Mansion.
“I’m personally not going,” Angelo Vivolo, President, Columbus Foundation said, “I am recommending other people not to go.”
When Vivolo speaks, others listen. The leaders of some forty other Italian American groups are urging their members to boycott the mayor’s Italian American celebration Thursday night.
They’re also withholding financial support for the annual event. Last year they wrote a check for$15,000.
“They’re you know, disappointed with the mayor’s position,” Vivolo said.
His refusal to defend the Christopher Columbus statues, his appointment of a committee to decide which statues are symbols of hate, his refusal to defend the statue in Columbus Circle.
“I believe this is a total disrespect for the Italian American community. We believe in Christopher Columbus as a person Italian Americans look up to,” Vivolo said.
Mayor de Blasio bristled when asked about the latest blast from the Italian American community.
“It’s not the community Marcia. There are 25-,million Italian Americans and millions in the metropolitan area. It is a small group of leaders. That is their choice,” the mayor said. “Look it’s a free country, if they chose not to come to an event honoring our heritage, that’s their choice.”
Vivolo tartly pointed out that other big name politicians are on their side.
“We have governor Cuomo,” he said. “The governor of the great state of New York who is complete support of our position.”
The Columbus Day parade may prove problematic for Mayor de Blaiso, with all the controversy the warmth of his welcome is very much in question on Fifth Avenue.