World AIDS Day: Crowds of Supporters Observe Public Dedication of New York City AIDS Memorial
NEW YORK, Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Community leaders, activists, elected officials, and supporters observed World AIDS Day 2016 by attending the official dedication ceremony for the newly completed New York City AIDS Memorial, centerpiece of the New York City AIDS Memorial Park at St. Vincent's Triangle. The Memorial is located at the intersection of West 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue in Manhattan's West Village neighborhood. The New York City AIDS Memorial Board of Directors hosted the ceremony, alongside representatives from the END AIDS NY 2020 Coalition, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the New York State Department of Health.
Until now, more than 35 years into the fight against AIDS, there was no highly visible public memorial in New York City recognizing the 100,000+ men, women and children lost to the disease and the extraordinarily heroic effort of caregivers and activists who helped change the trajectory of the epidemic. The Memorial sits at the gateway to a new park adjacent to the former St. Vincent's Hospital, which housed the City's largest AIDS ward and is often considered the epicenter of the disease, and less than a block from the LGBT Community Center, where ACT-UP first organized. The push for a memorial began as a grassroots effort in 2011, and with significant community support, public leadership and private generosity, including the special support of the Rudin family, the developers of the park and former hospital site, the Memorial is finally opening to the public.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo celebrates the Memorial and reiterates his commitment to ending AIDS in New York State. "More than 35 years after the AIDS epidemic first devastated New York, this battle is finally nearing its end," Governor Cuomo said. "This memorial is both a tribute to the thousands of men and women who lost their lives to AIDS, as well as an enduring symbol of our commitment reducing the number of HIV infections statewide. By taking a comprehensive approach that includes more testing, cutting-edge treatment, and increased access to new drugs, we have transformed this state into a place where new transmissions are rare and those living with this disease can enjoy a full, healthy life."
The New York City AIDS Memorial Park at St. Vincent's Triangle was built by the Rudin family as part of their redevelopment of the former St. Vincent's Hospital. Along with building the new park, the Rudin family managed the construction of the New York City AIDS Memorial. "We are so gratified to see this beautiful park and Memorial now available to the neighborhood and all New Yorkers," said William Rudin, CEO of Rudin Management, Inc. Eric Rudin, President of Rudin Management, Inc. agrees. "It was an honor to build this Memorial for current and future generations -- offering a unique place for reflection amid a busy city."
The monument's 18-foot white canopy sculpture was fabricated in Argentina and assembled onsite, and stone fabricators in Cold Spring, Minnesota produced the Memorial's granite pavers with engraved artwork by world-renowned visual artist Jenny Holzer. This work includes selections from Walt Whitman's Song of Myself.
"The New York City AIDS Memorial Park at St. Vincent's Triangle honors the best of our city. From the dedicated medical staff of St. Vincent's who served Greenwich Village for more than 150 years, to the New Yorkers who bravely came together during dark early days of the AIDS crisis, this beautiful new space pays homage to the generations of courage and care that make this the Greatest City in the World," said New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.
Keith Fox, President of the New York City AIDS Memorial Board of Directors, summarized the feeling of many who have worked on this project for nearly five years. "Getting to this special day has been an amazing journey. We have met so many generous and passionate New Yorkers who have been with us every step of the way. We were collectively inspired to honor the 100,000 New Yorkers who died from this disease, and to ensure that their memory, and our shared history, is not forgotten."
Additional noted speakers at the dedication included:
- Dr. Mary T. Bassett, New York City Health Commissioner
- Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
- Brad Hoylman, New York State Senator
- Corey Johnson, New York City Council Member
- Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker, New York City Council
- Kamilah Aisha Moon, celebrated poet
- Billy Porter, Tony Award-winning performer
- Scott M. Stringer, New York City Comptroller
- Lillias White, Tony Award-winning actress
- Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Health Commissioner
For more information about the New York City AIDS Memorial and a record of the day's remarks, visit nycaidsmemorial.org.
About New York City AIDS Memorial: The Memorial project was launched in 2011 by Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn to recognize and preserve the history of the AIDS crisis through the creation of a Memorial to honor New York City's 100,000+ men, women and children who have died from AIDS, and to commemorate and celebrate the efforts of the caregivers and activists who responded heroically to the crisis. Their efforts evolved into the New York City AIDS Memorial organization. For more information about and images of the New York City AIDS Memorial, visit nycaidsmemorial.org, follow on Facebook at ?facebook.com/NYCAIDSMemorial and on Twitter at? @AIDSMemPark.
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SOURCE New York City AIDS Memorial