A 76-foot statue of explorer Christopher Columbus stands in Columbus circle

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Columbus monument added to National Register of Historic Places

December 06, 2018 - 3:19 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The granite column topped by a marble statue of Christopher Columbus at the southwest corner of Central Park has become a contentious monument, but it's gaining stature as a landmark.

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Following September's unanimous vote by the New York State Board for Historic Preservation to list it on the state register, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that it is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cuomo notes the monument is revered by the Italian-American community and said it "Stands as a tribute to the way our state has welcomed immigrants from around the globe."

The announcement was met with praise from other prominent New York Italian-Americans.

"The Italian American community takes great pride in the Columbus Monument and the positive history it represents. We are grateful to Governor Cuomo and New York State for being a partner in its preservation." Angelo Vivolo, President of the Columbus Heritage Coalition said.

The statue was funded through the efforts fo Carlo Barsotti, the founder of Il Progresso, America's first daily Italian language newspaper. Congressman Tom Suozzi called it a sign of solidarity with New York's immigrant community.

"At a time when the Italian-American community faced discrimination and hostility, the Columbus Monument served as a unifying symbol that helped immigrants overcome these hardships. Now, the statue stands as a reminder to all immigrants in our nation that New York will always recognize and celebrate your unique cultures and history. I applaud Governor Cuomo for always standing with our nation's immigrants, and for recognizing the importance of this monument." he said.

The National Park Service accepted the nomination on November 20.