4. Columbus Square, Queens


Columbus Square was renamed for Columbus on April 1, 1930, by the Board of Aldermen. In 1937, the Italian Chamber of Commerce installed a bronze tablet on the site with the intention of erecting a life-sized statue of Columbus. The WPA commissioned Angelo Racioppi to create the statue, which was unveiled in 1941. Over 5,000 people were in attendance, including Mayor LaGuarida, however this dedication was short lived. Funding had not materialized for the statue’s base and those behind the statue feared that the statue would be recycled for weapons during World War II, so they hid it in the basement of Queens Borough Hall. (The residents were possibly not paranoid as the New York Life Insurance Building’s statue of Atlas might have met the same fate).  By 1943, the statue was placed on its granite based and the plaque was retained as a memento. Today, the Annual Queens County Columbus Parade terminates at the Borough’s sole Columbus statue.