Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the listing on Thursday.
He says the National Park Service listed the monument in November after a nomination from the state Historic Preservation office.
The statue, in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, was put up in 1892 through the efforts of the Italian-American community as they attempted to overcome prejudice and assimilate into American society.
But others have spoken out against it, saying the statue of the explorer represents genocide and enslavement against indigenous peoples.
The statue was among those considered by a city commission tasked with evaluating how to deal with controversial sculptures. The commission recommended adding historical markers to give more context.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)