New York City has now received its first, permanent memorial to the many thousands it has lost over the past 35 years to HIV and AIDS.
The majority of those to die have been gay and bisexual men.
The memorial, which is situated at West 12th street and Greenwich Avenue, had a public dedication ceremony this morning: World AIDS Day.
The location is next to St Vincent’s Hospital, which, in the 1980s, was the final home for so many of those who first succumbed to the disease.
The park where it is located has now been renamed the New York City AIDS Memorial Park at St. Vincent’s Triangle.
The creation of an AIDS Memorial was driven by a grassroots campaign over the past five years led by Chris Tepper and Paul Kelterborn. They set up the official New York City AIDS Memorial non-profit organization.
The memorial has cost $6million dollars, with $4million coming from the city of New York and $2million from private donations.
Following an international competition, the 18-foot high steel and granite structure was designed by Studio a + I.
Its pavers are designed by artist Jenny Holzer. They are inscribed with the words from Walt Whitman’s poem, Song of Myself.
‘In New York City alone, over 100,000 men, women and children have died from AIDS,’ Tepper told Pix11 this week, saying he wanted to create something to honor not only those who had died, but also the caregivers and activists who called for government action around HIV.
Today’s dedication was emceed by Tony Award-winning actor and singer Billy Porter and included a performance from the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus.
— NYC Gay Men’s Chorus (@nycgaychorus) December 1, 2016