It’s on! Our statues are shilling for NBC!

It’s on! Our statues are shilling for NBC!
Community Newspaper Group / Andy Campbell

Holy advertising scheme, Brooklyn!

NBC draped four Brooklyn monuments — ones dedicated to actual legends, like late 1800s Rep. James Samuel Thomas Stranahan — with black capes in a week-long promotion for its upcoming TV show called, “The Cape.”

The statues, including Stranahan in Grand Army Plaza, Christopher Columbus at Borough Hall; Gen. Edward Fowler on Fulton Street in Fort Greene; and George Washington at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge, started wearing the superhero garb on Wednesday in an attempt to garner ratings for the series, which begins on Sunday.

The idea is for the series to bask in the reflected glow of our borough’s genuine heroes. But locals weren’t buying it.

The statue of former Rep. James Stranahan was bedecked in a black cape to promote NBC’s new superhero show, “The Cape.” A smaller monument to the show, with promotional information, stands in front of the statue.
Photo by Julie Rosenberg

“It’s a fricking cape — what does a fricking cape or a TV series have to do with Christopher Columbus?” asked Deborah Wojnar, who works near the celebrated explorer-topped plinth.

NBC executives, no doubt, would disagree. The series, after all, follows a “good cop” who’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit — then he’s saved by a circus ringleader who teaches him some sort of super-trick so that he can continue to fight crime under the guise of his son’s favorite TV hero.

Get it — hero?

Historic preservationists are also grumbling that the red capes cheapen our bona-fide heroes — and commercialize public space.

At least four statues in Brooklyn — possibly the one of Gen. Fowler in Fort Greene — will wear red capes this week to promote a new NBC TV series.
The Brooklyn Paper / Robin Lester

Plus there’s the cost of city workers, who installed the capes on the statues — and promotional kiosks next to them — early on Wednesday morning.

But others, like members of Community Board 6, saw some benefit to highlighting local sculptures, even with the larger goal of promoting a TV show.

“In anticipation of the show’s focus on heroism, this is a first-of-its-kind campaign to highlight historic statues from around the city,” the board wrote in its monthly newsletter. The kiosks next to the statues do mention the heroic contributions of the man on the pedestal, while also directing parkgoers to go back home and hit the couch for some serious TV viewing this Sunday.

The series seems to do little to “highlight historic statues,” in Brooklyn, as its website features a circus dwarf and a man in sunglasses holding a man hostage. Who could better pay homage to Stranahan, who helped to establish Prospect Park and work toward building the Brooklyn Bridge, than a circus dwarf, a cop-gone-masked-avenger, and a TV network?

NBC has done this kind of thing before. Two years ago, the network filmed a short-lived series, “Kings,” at the Brooklyn Museum.
The Brooklyn Paper / Bess Adler

Of course, it’s not the first time that the struggling network has sought Brooklyn’s help. Two years ago, the short-lived NBC series, “Kings,” took over the Brooklyn Museum for a few days, filling the plaza out front with tanks, troops and a genuine, World War II-era tank.