Civic Virtue-Queens Boulevard-Statue-Green-wood Cemetery

The city of New York has been gradually moving the controversial statue Civic Virtue around. In 1922, American Beaux-Arts sculptor Frederick MacMonnies fashioned the piece for City Hall Park in Manhattan. The sculpture depicts a nude man gripping a sword and towering over two sirens. The man represents “civic virtue” and the women represent “Vice,” and “Corruption.” Twenty years later, the city moved the statue because Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia was “tired of seeing Civic Virtue’s naked derriere every time he left his office.” When Queens opened its Borough Hall, Mayor LaGuardia gifted the three-figure statue to the borough. This would not be its last move, however.

From the beginning the statue was controversial for being pagan. Since it’s been in Queens, several borough presidents have denied the statue’s conservation on grounds of sexism.

As the statue deteriorated, the city waited until early 2012 to invest in an electronic noise box to protect Civic Virtue from pigeons roosting on it. The box produces a combination of ultrasonic sounds and sounds inaudible to human ear.  Very quickly, the box’s loud squawking perceived to be ineffective. The sound only drew more negative attention to the statue.

In 2011, New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner suggested selling the statue on Craigslist but president of Green-Wood Cemetery Richard Moylan had another idea. Moylan offered to take the statue to Brooklyn and raise money to restore it. By the end of December 2012, Civic Virtue was removed. Today the noise box remains on Queens Boulevard along with the statue’s foundation. Last week, the NYDailyNews reported that the will not remove the noise box anytime soon. And there is still no news about the removal of the fountain’s foundation.