Activists and groups including the Italic Institute of America said they object to plans for Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi to enclose the statue in Manhattan's Columbus Circle in a model of a modern living room six stories above the street, the New York Post reported Monday.
Rosario Iaconis, chairman of the Italic Institute of America, called the plan "a bit of an abomination."
"Erecting this living-room set around the statue demeans the community," he said. "Mayor (Michael) Bloomberg has had issues with the community and the Columbus Parade. He's never made amends. I think (the statue) is the height of folly."
Bloomberg released a statement in support of the art installation, which is scheduled to be in place from Sept. 20 until Nov. 18.
"This fall, New York City will rediscover Christopher Columbus in a new and exciting way, thanks to the creativity of Tatzu Nishi," the mayor said. "This is sure to become another must-visit attraction for millions of tourists."