New York City’s AIDS Memorial has been unveiled, in a ceremony on World AIDS Day.
The Memorial is located in a new park, officially named the New York City AIDS Memorial Park, in St Vincent’s Triangle, Manhattan.
The opening marks the culmination of over five years of planning and development to build the memorial, which involved significant private and public support.
A statement said: “The Memorial project was launched in 2011 to recognise 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.”
It will be the first significant public space dedicated to the AIDS epidemic in New York City.
Commissioner Mitchell Silver said: “NYC AIDS Memorial Park at St. Vincent’s Triangle stands at the crossroads of the richly historical West Village.
“Here, we honour and celebrate St. Vincent’s Hospital’s more than 150 years of service to our city, as well as the countless New Yorkers impacted by AIDS: those we have lost, those who live with H.I.V./AIDS, and those who continue to battle against fear and ignorance.”
The memorial, currently under construction, is slated to open in October.
Stephan Jaklitsch, Architect and Greenwich Village resident said: “It is appropriate that this is in our neighbourhood and that the park’s name reflects both the epidemic and the location of the hospital that was so critical during the height of the AIDS epidemic in NYC.
“But it is also a memorial that addresses all of our society. It is impossible to convey the horror of such an epidemic and the injustice and stigma experienced by those directly affected, but public memorials serve as important reminders of our history, our shared values and the actions and attitudes we put forth as a public body during moments of crisis.
“This memorial should serve, in future epidemics, both as a reminder of the dangers created, when we allow fear to rule, and of the positive outcomes that result when we unite to fight discrimination and seek solutions to our common ills.
“Recent events show how relevant and timely this memorial can be.”