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Addabbo Calls On Chirlane McCray to Listen to the Public When Selecting Female Honorees

Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini (Photo: Wikipedia)

Aug. 27, 2019 By Allie Griffin

Statues of women influential in New York City’s history are about to go up around the city, yet New Yorkers don’t appear to be getting much say on which ones are to be honored.

As part of the city’s ‘She Built NYC’ initiative, New Yorkers were asked to submit nominees and vote on which women the city should install statues of throughout the boroughs. Yet the initiative’s panel– overseen by First Lady Chirlane McCray–has ignored the public’s most-voted-for woman, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini.
Now, State Sen. Joseph Addabbo has penned a letter to McCray asking for an explanation as to why her panel ignored the public’s top pick.

McCray began the ‘She Built NYC’ initiative last summer to add more monuments of women who helped shape New York City throughout the boroughs. Currently, only five of New York’s 150 statues of historical figures feature women, according to the Mayor’s Office.

The project was opened up to the public for suggestions, drawing more than 2,000 nominations which was whittled down to 327 and then voted on by New Yorkers. Yet, it was McCray’s team who got the final say and allegedly ignored New Yorkers’ top choice.

Mother Cabrini, an Italian immigrant and America’s first saint, took top spot with more than double the amount of votes than the second runner up. Despite her popularity, the city has no plans on erecting a statue in her honor.

“I am not disputing the women chosen by the panel for this initiative, but I am questioning why ‘She Built NYC’ would hold a public poll and then decide to ignore the voice of the people by not including the woman who finished with the most votes by a large margin,” said Addabbo, who is also the President of the Conference of Italian American Legislators.

“It makes little sense to hold a vote and then go against the overwhelming winner of that vote.”

Instead, the seven women the city chose to honor are jazz singer Billie Holiday, desegregation activist Elizabeth Jennings Graham, Latina doctor Helen Rodriguez Trias, LGBTQ advocates Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, the first black congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and lighthouse keeper Katherine Walker.

None of the first four women were among the top seven nominees picked in the poll, according to the New York Post.

NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray

Billie Holiday’s statue will be placed near Queen’s Borough Hall in Kew Gardens. Holiday was born in 1915 and lived in Addisleigh Park in St. Albans and later in Flushing. She is considered one of the world’s best jazz singers and was among the first black women to sing with a white orchestra.

Addabbo urged the ‘She Built NYC’ panel to reconsider adding Mother Cabrini to the list of women honored by new statues.

Cabrini came to New York in the 1800s from Italy and founded several orphanages, schools and hospitals for Italian immigrants and other New Yorkers. After her death, she was canonized by the Catholic Church and is recognized as the country’s first saint.

“Mother Cabrini’s contributions to New York City and the burgeoning immigrant community cannot be overlooked,” Addabbo said. “If there was ever a woman who deserved to be honored with a statue in her image for her work in helping to shape New York City, I believe Mother Cabrini was a great choice selected by the people.”

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surdus et mutus

Listen to the public?!!?….lol That’s a good one. Did this Addabbo listen to the public when he jammed a casino in their backyard?

Listen to the public … smdh.


While I get what you’re saying, most of us on here might not be familiar with the process undertaken in order to have that casino built in those people’s backyards. It’s confusing two different situations. The focus here is on McCray not honoring and respecting what was voted on regarding the statues. I can’t speak to what Addabo might have done regarding the casino, but in this issue with the statues, he has a totally valid point that the final result of the vote should be carried out. It’s exactly this type of arrogant behavior (ignoring community votes/input) from deBlasio/McCray that’s keeping them from gaining any traction in the polls and he will soon have to drop out of the presidential race.


As usual you get the extremists here on both sides who get the ink. Before this period you had the male only crowd who rarely put up statues to women, now you get the “generational shaming” crowd ie all new statues must be of women whether anybody heard of them or not and men must be condemned for five million yrs. of existence.

How about letting the people decide and not the generational shamers on both sides of the issue ie the Trump or Hillary crowd?

Sara Ross

McCray has done nothing with the funding and salary she got to help people with mental illness. Now she’s making decisions about which women should be celebrated and remembered? What about Francis Perkins? McCray needs to go away and take Sasquatch with her.


Tell why you don’t like this comment thumbs down people. Do you think McCray has put that 850 mil to good use helping those with mental illness? Have you been on the subway lately? If anything, the mental health problem has become much worse. There are people all over the place yelling all kinds of profanity, urinating wherever they want, shootings, stabbings, water bottle attacks on police, the list goes on and on. Her program has not shown ONE measurable result, yea I think that qualifies as a flop.

not correct

they don’t want the money going to the severely mentally ill because they don’t vote…they gave most of the money to people with minor issues to put them on the dole and pay them to vote democrat….from that point of view her program is a success…”vote Dem and you will get free money”…RIP good ol’ US of A


The input of statues must be a gradual process. One or two
per administration.
One politician and his wife should not make all the calls.
This selection seems heavily race oriented, which is to be
expected, given the rabid obsession of this Mayor.

Who is she anyway

McCray is a flake. She wasn’t born in NY. She was born and grew up in Massachusetts. In 1979 she said she was a “Radical Lesbian”, then she married Doofus De Blasio. How do you go from being gay to marring a lazy, condescending goof. Either you’re gay or you’re not. I think she was just looking for publicity. She shouldn’t be allowed to choose statues anymore than she should be allowed to choose the carpet color for Gracie Mansion.

What's McCray's qualifications?

What are McCray’s qualifications in deciding what statues are chosen? Because she is the mayor’s wife? I think she had an agenda from the start. The popular vote was a fraud, just a way to pacify the people. Keep up the pressure and she’ll cave.

Statue of herself

McCray really wants to put up a statue of herself. That’s what this is all about.

Why does she need more experience than the president?

He had zero days experience. You’re saying that makes him a bad president?!

Usual Nonsense

Is anyone surprised by this? McCray is as shady as they get and has no business taking on such leadership roles (and neither does her husband for that matter). She squandered a whopping $850 mil on her bogus Thrive NYC program to help the mentally ill and has no actual measurable results to show for it. This kind of stuff is the name of the game in Bozo’s administration. They pretend to seek community input on things like bike lanes, statues, building mega prisons, homeless shelters, etc…but they have their own preset agenda and regardless of what the community votes on, they will do whatever they want anyways just wasting everyone’s time pretending to care and listen, much like Bozo’s ill fated presidential campaign. NYC can’t get rid of this husband and wife disasterous duo fast enough!


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