making local government more ethical

New York City's Civic Virtue Sent to the Graveyard


According to an article in today's New York Times, this allegorical neoFlorentine sculpture called "Triumph of Civic Virtue," by Frederick MacMonnies was commissioned for City Hall Park in New York City back in 1922. Its heroic male figure, quickly dubbed "Rough Boy," stands over two women, Corruption and Vice, one defeated, the other well on her way to being crushed.

The sculpture was not welcomed by New York City's women, who did not like the gender portrayal of corruption and vice (or of virtue, for that matter). In 1941, Mayor La Guardia had the 22-ton sculpture moved to Borough Hall in Queens. But it hasn't been any more welcome there.

Its next stop? Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn (west of Prospect Park), where the dead cannot complain. At least Civic Virtue can now rest its weary, warring head.

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