Tuesday is the first mayoral debate of the general election, and you can watch all of the action right here on NY1 at 7 p.m.

But first, the three mayoral candidates who are facing off on the debate stage marched in the Columbus Day Parade on Monday. It was an event overshadowed by a fierce fight over the legacy of Christopher Columbus, a fight that was prompted by Mayor Bill de Blasio. NY1 Political Reporter Grace Rauh has the story.

"Tomorrow night, it's me and you, baby! Bo against Big Bird!" independent candidate for mayor, Bo Dietl, said Monday, calling to de Blasio during the Columbus Day Parade.

De Blasio did not stop to talk with Dietl.

"You guys, you can vote for Bo! Forget about Big Bird!" Dietl said to some people attending the parade.

He'll have plenty of time to engage Tuesday night when he faces Dietl and Republican Nicole Malliotakis on the NY1 debate stage.

"He has mismanaged the city over the last four-and-a-half years, and he is going to have to answer for it," Malliotakis said to NY1 during the parade.

The mayoral debate comes as another debate is raging in the city over the legacy of Christopher Columbus.

"You can debate the historic figure of Christopher Columbus, but you can't debate the contributions of Italian-Americans to this country," de Blasio said.

The mayor has refused to say whether statues of Columbus, like the one in Columbus Circle, need to go.

But he did appoint a commission to make recommendations about so-called "symbols of hate" around the city after the protests in Charlottesville over Confederate monuments.

"I cannot believe the mayor has the face to show up here today, after he will not take a stand and defend the Christopher Columbus statue," Malliotakis said.

"We should leave Christopher Columbus alone," Dietl said. "There is good, bad, and ugly in history."

"Should we honor Christopher Columbus, or should we honor the indigenous people? It's not either or, it's both," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

As he marched, de Blasio, who is Italian-American himself, got some boos.

"Columbus is a symbol of our heritage," said one parade attendee. "We don't want our heritage to go away."

"This is Columbus. I mean, the guy had guts. He came over here, and yeah, there were already people here, but the guy had a lot of guts," another said.

The mayor's critics say de Blasio is lacking guts when it comes to this fight. By refusing to take a position on Columbus, they say he's hiding behind his commission as he runs for re-election.

The commission is holding its first meeting Tuesday. Ultimately, however, the final decision about what happens to any of these statues rests with the mayor.