Bill de Blasio, the New York mayor, has said he may order the removal of the landmark statue of Christopher Columbus that has overlooked Manhattan’s Columbus Circle since it was erected as part of the city’s 1892 commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the explorer landing in the Americas. The review, which comes amid a national drive to remove dozens of controversial statues and monuments, has prompted a passionate response. Italian American groups have

argued that Columbus “was essential in truly legitimizing our transition from Italians to Americans”. In a full-page ad in the New York Times on Friday, Angelo Vivolo, the president of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, defended the Gaetano Russo statue, which sits atop a 70ft column a short distance away from Trump Tower. Vivolo said it had come to represent the many achievements that Italian Americans had accomplished. READ MORE