NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Move the iconic statue of former New York Gov. and our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt. That’s the request from the American Museum of Natural History.

So, how do New Yorkers feel about it? CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock found out on Monday.

Barricades surround it, officers watch over it, and passers by snap pics in front of it. This statue of Roosevelt sits astride a steed while a Native American and an African-American stand below him. It is a New York City landmark and the source of controversy.

“They need to take these reminders of a past that we need to get away from,” said Dennis Regan of the Upper West Side.

Unveiled in 1940, the statue sits on city property at the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History.

In 2020, many want it out of plain sight.

“I think it’s unattractive to look at, in addition to being racially offensive,” UWS resident Linda Seidel said.

On Sunday, the museum announced it requested the statue be moved.

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Roosevelt’s great-grandson and museum trustee Theodore Roosevelt IV stated, “The equestrian statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy. It’s time to move the statue and move forward.”

This is not the first time the statue has been declared offensive by some. In 2017, vandals desecrated it with fake blood as Mayor Bill de Blasio conducted a public debate over “symbols of hate” in the city.

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At that time, the city decided the statue would remain. The museum added placards addressing the statue, an exhibition, and online resources.

“I know the museum feels it’s best to take it down. I support it,” de Blasio said.

Murdock asked New Yorkers to sound off.

“I think it’s terrible. If you eliminate that some kids will not know what this was. Children at museums see something and ask questions,” said Joseph Bolanos, president of the 76th Street Block Association.

“I doesn’t offend me, personally,” Harlem resident DC Williams said. “It’s probably a little racist, but looks a little cool. If we’re really gonna change things, policy has to be policy and more people of color in Congress.”

“It’s a learning moment. It’s a teaching lesson. I am a professor of art history. I think it should be used to teach,” Seidel added.

Her suggestion is to move the iconic statue inside the museum.

The city has final say over whether or not the statue will be moved. Thus, it’s fate is unknown at this time.

Comments (2)
  1. Museums, on the whole, are repositories of the racist hegemony of the West, celebrating imperialistic conquest, plunder, and colonialism. The American Museum of Natural History is practicing some cute sleight of hand, diverting and distracting with the Teddy statue, to avert our gaze from a museum of white privilege.

  2. m stella says:

    Murder rate soars in NYC and Mayor DumbAss worried about statues. Hopefully he’ll stand next to it when they remove it and it falls on him. Fkg Loser. The absolute WORST Mayor in NYC history. (and to the whiny lib freaks, what DOESN’t offend you?)

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