Most people walk into the industrial-chic mall that is Brooklyn’s Liberty View to buy pillowcases at the Bed, Bath & Beyond “mega-complex” inside. But those not in search of a duvet cover come for a very different reason: to pay respects to a one-ton, 13-foot bronze statue of Captain America in the lobby, lifting his shield nobly atop a plinth.
Reviews for the statue on Google are half worshipful, half indignant. Many speak passionately about the journeys undertaken from abroad and aborough to admire this costumed depiction of the comic book character Steve Rogers, whose star turn in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films inspired a passionate fandom. The other half protest that the statue shouldn’t be in the mall at all, but should hold a place of honor in a Brooklyn park (in honor of the character’s roots as “just a kid from Brooklyn”), or at least somewhere less blatantly capitalist.
The thing is, at one point it was. The handsome statue is the work of sculptor Dave Cortes, who was approached by Marvel to make the statue in honor of Captain America’s 75th anniversary in 2o16. It’s been shuttled to San Diego Comic-Con, as well as to various locations in Brooklyn, including Barclays Center and Prospect Park.
But for residents around the park, that was a problem. Complaints arose that the statue was an unnecessarily commercial addition to the park’s scenery. Another issue came from canon itself. In the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger, Rogers retorts to a villain that he’s “just a kid from Brooklyn.” But the character in the comic books, created in 1941 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, was actually born and raised in the Lower East Side—that is, in Manhattan.
All that makes the words “Hometown Pride,” “I’m just a kid from Brooklyn,” and “Celebrating 75 Heroic Years” decorating the statue slightly weird. Less ambiguous is the imprecation on the side not to climb the statue, for those tempted to swing on a heroic bronze bicep.