The commission that will decide the fate of some controversial monuments around town held its first hearing Friday.

They heard from New Yorkers this morning at Queens Borough Hall.

It was the first of five meetings set for this month.

While the hearing was not well-attended, those who spoke say they were in favor of preserving the past.

"This is a country built on freedom and democracy, not bureaucrats telling us what is correct and what is not correct," said one.

"I urge you against white-washing the past, because it will result in a monolithic thinking and a diminishing of the complexity of American history," said another.

The mayor created the commission in August after a national outcry over Confederate monuments.

Some are worried the commission might try to remove statues of Christopher Columbus.

The mayor has not said if he supports that idea.

He wants to read the commission's report first, which will be submitted in December.