Fate of Samuel Cox Statue in Tompkins Square Park Remains Uncertain

Posted on: August 18th, 2020 at 5:05 am by

Photo: EV Grieve

The statue of Samuel Cox residing in Tompkins Square Park is on the proverbial chopping block.

2nd District Councilwoman Carlina Rivera is calling for Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver to remove the 19th century figurehead from the public eye.

Historians and numerous New Yorkers have highlighted that Cox’s history – beyond his work regarding pro-labor policies at the United States Postal Service – includes very disturbing examples of white supremacy, particularly as it relates to emancipation and Black civic participation in the mid-1800s,” Rivera states in her July 30 letter to Commissioner Silver. “As many historians have suggested, such statuary is better situated in non-public settings, such as museums, where they can remain as an educational tool for future generations choosing – operative word – to view and understand our nation’s racist legacy.”

A bit more of Cox’s mark on history, per the NYC Parks Department:

Although Cox once publicly declared that his most satisfying contribution to public service was championing the Life Saving Service—founded in the 1840s to patrol the coasts and save imperiled boaters during bad weather, the group was absorbed into the Coast Guard in 1915—this statue is sponsored by U.S. Postal Service workers because of Cox’s support for their quality-of-life issues. Known as the “letter-carriers’ friend,” Cox spearheaded legislation that led to paid benefits and a 40-hour workweek for postal employees. Mail carriers from the 188 cities named on the monument contributed $10,000 for the statue in a campaign that began soon after Cox’s death.

In recent weeks, the statue has been vandalized and subsequently threatened to be pulled down by protesters. Thus, Cox is now encased in additional metal fencing, and has dedicated police detail keeping watch nearby.

Recent Stories

The Push to Save New York Eye and Ear Infirmary Building, as LPC Stalls

With plans to close the 165-year-old New York Eye and Ear Infirmary building on Second Avenue, demolition is likely the next step. Preservation-minded groups have been lobbying the city to save the building from possible destruction. Led by Village Preservation, the organization sent a Request for Evaluation letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on April […]

Excavation Underway on Affordable Grand Street Guild Towers

Work is officially underway on two new towers adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge. On-site excavation has been ongoing for several weeks at Broome and Clinton Streets, yielding plenty of dust and noise for neighbors. Earlier this year, demolition crews razed the two-story parking garage and Little Star early childhood center in the shadow of the […]

Mr. Fong’s Owner Plans All Day Cafe on Hester Street

Another day, another principal of Mr. Fong’s starting a new Lower East Side venture. Aisa Shelley – who co-founded the Chinatown hotspot with Lucas Moran, Noah Shelley, Daniel Eric Gold and Adam Moonves – is headed to 61 Hester Street. The long-inactive storefront previously occupied by L’estudio. There, Shelley will impart an “all day cafe” […]

Truck Hits ‘OhK Dog’ Dining Shed on Ludlow Street

Ludlow Street neighbors began Saturday with the sound of a large crash. It was the sound of the OhK Dog dining shed collapsing to the ground. From what we gather, a truck driver headed southbound on Ludlow struck the popular restaurant’s outdoor annex. No one was hurt in the incident. This was apparently the second […]

New 21-Story Tower Begins Ascent on Market Street

A former Lower East Side parking lot is meeting its skyscraping destiny. Another tower. The through-block parcel on Henry Street, just west of Market, is already on its upward ascent. The new mixed-use development at 59 Henry will ultimately rise 21 stories (227 feet), with 57,395 square-feet of residential floor area and 40,305 square-feet for […]