Controversial Civic Virtue Heads To Brooklyn
The statue of Civic Virtue, with its depiction of a male towering over females depicted as vice and corruption, has been an on and off again controversy almost since the time it was unveiled 90 years ago at City Hall.
Last week, the statue, which was designed in Paris by Frederick MacMonnies and sculptured of white Georgia marble in The Bronx, still stood in its fountain on Queens Boulevard, behind a chain-link fence.
Over the years, efforts to restore the statue became prohibitively expensive and faded as other priorities such as senior centers, programs for youth, renovations of parks and historic structures and other priorities needing funding coming under threats of budget reductions amidst dwindling resources.
Last year several activist groups and elected officials including former Congressmember Anthony Weiner fought for the removal of the 22-ton statue, stating that it should be sold on Craigslist.
Richard J. Moylan, the president of Greenwood Cemetery, had another idea. Moylan, also a member of the National Sculpture Society, suggested that the statue be brought to Greenwood in Brooklyn because MacMonnies’ relatives are buried there. Also there is a frieze of pink granite by the artist himself memorializing one of his friends.
The statue would be placed near the cemetery’s front gates, according to Moylan.
“I am grateful and glad that Civic Virtue will be restored, but disappointed that the restoration will not take place at the current site and that the statue will not be returned to Queens from Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. “Informal discussions have already taken place about the future of the site. It is my desire and my wish to create a public plaza and sitting area that will honor a woman or women from Queens. It will be a lasting memorial to the role that women have played in the course of our pursuit of quality, growth and progress.”