New Yorkers debate controversial statues and monuments

The first of the city's public hearings on the future of controversial statues and monuments began Friday with dozens of speakers. Many are asking the city to retain statues including that of Christopher Columbus, who many consider a symbol to the Italian-American community.

But for many, including some of the 110,000 Native Americans living in this city, the Columbus statute and his name on the circle and avenue north of it are a constant, painful reminder that history readily ignores some of Columbus' other actions.

The mayoral advisory panel also heard from speakers against the controversial statue of J. Marion Sims on 5th Avenue and 103rd Street. Considered the father of modern gynecology, Sims experimented by operating on slave women, with neither consent nor anesthesia.