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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Chirlane McCray NIXED Mother Cabrini Statue – NOT Cultural Affairs Commissioner
Brigitte Stelzer Julia Marsh
“Culture” had nothing to do with this widely panned City Hall decision.
First lady Chirlane McCray and former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen — not the city’s outgoing Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl — made the controversial decision to nix a statue of revered Catholic saint Mother Cabrini in the “She Built NYC” plan to erect statues of great women.
“You were not the final decision maker on who would be honored in this way?” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens) asked Finkelpearl at a hearing about public art Tuesday.
“Yes, that’s correct,” Finkelpearl said.
“But the final decision rested with first lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen?” Van Bramer asked.
“Yes,” Finkelpearl confirmed.
“I just wanted to be clear to the City of New York who’s making those decisions because it’s fundamentally unfair for — let’s say — the Department of Cultural Affairs commissioner to be blamed for decisions that they didn’t, in fact, make,” Van Bramer said.
The Post reported last month that Mayor Bill de Blasio and McCray pushed Finkelpearl to resign at the end of December so he could take the fall for the Cabrini controversy.
Cabrini was not selected for a city statue despite the fact that she got the most votes in a poll of New Yorkers on who should be included. Following a public outcry, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he would erect a statue to the Catholic icon.
City Hall denies that de Blasio and McCray had any role in Finkelpearl’s ouster.
Finkelpearl also said the de Blasio administration should be more transparent about its statue selection process in the future.