A vandal defiled a larger-than-life statue of Christopher Columbus in Central Park on Tuesday, leaving “blood”-red paint on the explorer’s hands and scrawling “Hate will not be tolerated” on its pedestal.
The vandal also left an apparent threat at the base of the 7-foot-tall bronze: “#somethingscoming.”
A worker for the Central Park Conservancy, the nonprofit which oversees maintenance in the park, discovered the vandalized statue, located in the southern portion of the park at the foot of The Mall walkway near Center Drive, around 7 a.m. and called police, authorities said.
A paper sign was also plastered to the pedestal that read “Save your soul” with the hashtag “#somethingscoming.”
New Yorkers and tourists alike had mixed reactions regarding the defacement.
“It reflects a lot of what’s going on in the world right now and this country … it’s about the unrest in the world,” said Sheri Berger, 54, as she was walking her dog through the green space.
Still, Berger noted, “It bothers me to see [the graffiti]. It’s not positive, it’s destructive.”
Lois Hammett, a Tennessee tourist visiting Central Park, called the vandalism “disgraceful.”
“That’s the first thing I’ve seen in New York that makes me feel saddened and angry,” Hammett said, adding, “We have legal ways of protesting.”
Brooklynite Sallyanne T., 35, said she wasn’t “totally bothered” by the sight.
“People are expressing their freedom of speech … I’d rather see that than violence. We’re reflecting on our past and terrible things that happened.”
Central Park workers hurried Tuesday morning to clean up the graffiti using acetone.
A worker was overheard saying the red paint on the statue’s hands would be difficult to remove.
Monuments dedicated to Columbus have become a hot-button issue in the Big Apple amid a national debate on statues honoring controversial figures.
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently assembled a commission to review and recommend the removal of any “oppressive” monuments.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito urged that the 76-foot structure honoring Columbus at Columbus Circle be reviewed for potential removal.
“I would definitely encourage them to take a look at that one as well,” Mark-Viverito said at the time in reference to the statue.