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Pictures dated 1923 and 2002
Click image to enlarge


Because female serpentine figures are used to symbolize civic vice, the statue is criticized, incorrectly, for portraying women as evil. Symbolism is not so cut and dried. The symbol for the American Medical Association includes a snake. That is not meant to suggest that snakes are good for your health. Paintings of Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge frequently depict the forbidden fruit as an apple. No one takes that as a slam against apples.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D. N.Y.) says that Civic Virtue should be sold on Craigs List
Double click video to enlarge

Statue of Civic Virtue

This landmark was designed by Frederick MacMonnies and sculpted by the Piccirilli Brothers (Ferrucio, Attilio, Furio, Horatio, Masanielo and Getulio) of the Bronx. (Attilio and Furio also sculpted Daniel Chester French’s statute of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial and the Lions in front of the New York Public Library.) Civic Virtue stood in front of City Hall [see the 1923 picture] until Mayor La Guardia decided he was sick of being mooned by it everytime he left the office. In 1941, La Guardia finally thought of a way to get rid of the thing. He made a gift of the statue to Queens County in honor of the opening of its new Borough Hall. Civic Virtue was moved to the park next to Borough Hall where it has remained since.

It is commonly believed that the male figure is stepping or trampling on two women. It is not. The female figures are not human women. They are like mythical creatures - each one half woman, half serpent. Moreover, they are entwined around the male figure's feet, not under them.


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