Dec 102013

Ever since plans to exile the Triumph of Civic Virtue statue to Brooklyn came to light, enquiring minds have wanted to know: What will replace the statue at its former location on Queens Boulevard?

On July 29, 2013, DNAInfo reported that Queens Borough President Helen Marshall was “in negotiations with the departments of Design and Construction and Citywide Administrative Services” concerning the future use of the Queens Boulevard site, but that “renderings that were presented to Marshall ‘were not acceptable to the borough president.’”

Thanks to a new Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) Request made by Robert LoScalzo (who has previously successfully sued the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (“DCAS”) to obtain Civic Virtue records), now we know how DCAS intends to utilize the former site of the statue: As a “planted ruin”.

Records obtained by LoScalzo discuss the fountain that served as the base for the Civic Virtue statue. The statue has been exiled to Brooklyn, but what is left of the fountain base is still at the Queens Boulevard site. According to the records:

DCAS wishes to keep the original fountain as a planted ruin, a scenic backdrop to a busy and important intersection in the borough. … [T]he fountain, although left as a ‘ruin’, will be planted with grades and groundcovers and act as a landscape folly to enhance this prominent corner.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed “planted ruin” shows the fountain area closed off behind a cyclone fence, with wildflowers sprouting from the fountain and surrounding property.

Is DCAS serious? They’ve removed the colossal statue and artwork from Queens, and intend to leave behind a “planted ruin” to “act as a landscape folly”?

A “landscape folly”?

Who writes this stuff, and how dumb do they think we are?

Read the full prospective from the NYC Department of Design and Construction.

NYCDDC-Civic Virtue Proposal

Removal of the statue should not have resulted in any “ruin” being left at the Queens Boulevard site. Memo to DCAS: Flowers sprouting from your “ruin” does not make it any less of a ruin. The operative word here is “ruin”; you aren’t fooling anybody.

We call upon incoming Borough President Melinda Katz to hold a public hearing concerning any City proposal for the future use of the former Civc Virtue site, and to reject any proposal that does not have public support.

As for who was behind the secretive plan to remove the statue and whether it was carried out lawfully, supporters of still have multiple pending FOIL requests.
We will post such findings as they become available.

 Posted by at 9:32 pm