Donald Trump paid to have the statuary re-gilded, his hotel being a stone's throw away. It was part of the deal, or so I heard (for more on Maine Monuments see here).
The monument is a memorial to the sinking of the USS Maine. It was a big deal in 1898. See here for the details. It was erected at Columbus Circle shortly after the subway was built.
Hardly anyone know's what the Maine was about now. We have new wars now. New losses. New holes in the heart.
How to deal with that? Each generation finds its own way to remember those who have gone before.
There is something to be said for the grand manner of the late 19th century. It has a peacefulness that is classical in nature and is quite elegiac.