WEST VILLAGE — St. Vincent's Triangle Park will open to the public on Friday, a little more than five years after the storied hospital's closure.
The 16,000-square-foot park was created as part of a deal the city struck with the Rudin Management development firm and the Global Holdings, Inc. investment company, allowing the construction of a five-building luxury condo complex at the site where St. Vincent's Hospital stood before it shuttered in 2010.
"Our goal was to provide a serene green space for the entire community," Eric and William Rudin said in a statement.
In an accompanying statement, Global Holdings Chairman Eyal Ofer added, "We hope the green space and fountain are enjoyed by residents, guests and visitors of all ages for years to come, so that the park becomes part of the fabric of what is already a historical, diverse and creative neighborhood."
Construction on the park began in February. It was designed by Rick Parisi of the landscape architecture firm M. Paul Friedberg and Partners, and features leafy, curving paths, colorful flower beds of magnolias, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, junipers and hostas, and a 2,3000-square-foot lawn. More than 1,000 daffodil bulbs will be planted each spring.
Vistors can sit on the nearly 150 feet of granite amphitheater-style steps, 275 feet of custom wood benches or 25 moveable chairs with accompanying tables.
An interactive fountain features 45 water jets embedded in the ground that light up in different colors. The Rudins said they are "especially delighted to be opening in the summer when the children can enjoy the interactive fountain."
The westernmost corner of the triangular space will eventually hold a 1,600-square-foot AIDS memorial designed by artist Jenny Holzer.
It will be Holzer's first permanent, public work in New York City, and the city's first significant monument devoted to the AIDS crisis.
Holzer proposed inscribing passages from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" on a concentric piece of pavement spiraling out from a fountain. The words will be framed by benches and two overarching canopy-like structures.
The memorial's organizers, urban planners Chris Tepper and Paul Kelterborn, said in a newsletter the sculpture and artwork for the memorial is "well underway," with the metal "canopy" portion in production at a metal factory in Buenos Aires and the stone elements — benches, a fountain and the pavement that will feature Holzer's work — being made in a granite factory in Minnesota.
The unveiling of the memorial was previously projected for World AIDS Day in December, but they now expect to begin installing the work this winter, for completion in spring of 2016.
Tepper and Kelterborn fought for the monument since plans for the park were first floated nearly four years ago. For more on the process of the memorial's production, with photos of the work in progress, read the rest of the interview here.
The site's proximity to St. Vincent's is meant to honor the care the hospital provided to New Yorkers infected with the virus when the West Village medical center was considered "ground zero" of the epidemic. Five 30-inch granite stones at the park's entrances memorialize the hospital and the Sisters of Charity who ran it.
The park will be open to the public from 6 a.m. to midnight between April 15 and October 31, and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Nov. 1 to April 14.