WEST VILLAGE — Construction is under way on the long-awaited AIDS memorial at St. Vincent's Triangle at West 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue, now officially named New York City AIDS Memorial Park by the city's Department of Parks and Recreation.
Steel columns for the sculpture's 18-foot canopy, made in Argentina, are being assembled onsite, while stone fabricators in Cold Spring, Minn., are still engraving selections of Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" on granite pavers as designed by artist Jenny Holzer.
The memorial is located next to the medical center that replaced St. Vincent's. Photo Credit: NYC AIDS Memorial.
"After years of working with the community, local elected officials and other stakeholders to approve a design and raise funds for construction, we are extremely grateful to finally see onsite installation beginning," said Keith Fox, president of the memorial's board of directors, in a statement. "Along with the neighboring Stonewall National Monument, this is a proud moment for LGBT historic preservation."
The memorial was conceived by two urban planners, Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn, who started organizing around it in 2011 after St. Vincent's Hospital, once considered "ground zero" of the AIDS epidemic in New York City, shuttered and the land where it stood was purchased by the Rudin family to be developed into condos and townhouses.
The park where the memorial is being installed was created as part of a negotiation with the city that allowed Rudin and Global Holdings to build their nearby complex, known as The Greenwich Lane.
A rendering of the memorial. Credit: NYC AIDS Memorial.
Construction on the park began in February of last year, and the park officially opened in August 2015. The monument will center around a granite "water feature" and include benches.
Construction on the monument is slated for completion by early November, so that a public unveiling can coincide with World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.
"New York City has come so far in its fight against HIV and AIDS," Fox said. "We are proud to remember the 100,000+ New Yorkers who have died from AIDS and offer the community a place to remember, reflect and learn."