The statue of 19th century obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. J. Marion Sims was removed just after 8 a.m. Monday night, the city Public Design Commission voted to remove the statue of Dr. Sims.
Sims, widely regarded as the "father of modern gynecology", established the first hospital for women in New York City in 1855. The removal is part of a review of "symbols of hate", which Mayor Bill de Blasio called for after last year's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that left one woman dead. He invented the speculum and pioneered a surgical technique for repairing a vesicovaginal fistula, a complication of obstructed childbirth.
Protests over the statue broke out previous year, and in August it was flagged in NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's call for a 90-day review of "symbols of hate on city property".
The Sims statue is the only monument in the city that the commission recommended to move. But critics say his use of enslaved African-American women as experimental subjects was unethical. "Marion Sims is not our hero!" It will be kept in storage at Green-Wood until the cemetery constructs a historical display, which will put Sims' work into context and be placed near his grave site, a spokeswoman for the cemetery said.
"I recognize his contributions but it's sort of if Josef Mengele had contributions to the field of medicine, we wouldn't put a statue to him because of how he got that information", she said.
The names of many black women on whom Sims experimented are not known.
A monument to indigenous people will also be erected near the Columbus statue at the gateway to Central Park. It is the only statue citywide that an advisory panel made a decision to remove.
The monument to Sims is among a number of other statues that have drawn controversy in NY in recent months.