A new, 18-foot-high steel AIDS Memorial now sits at the entrance of St. Vincent’s Triangle, located across what once was the St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village. The steel structure, designed by architecture firm Studio a + i, is comprised of three connected triangles that form a canopy over granite paving stone. Excerpts from Walt Whitman’s poem “Songs of Myself” are also incorporated into the design as part of an installation by artist Jenny Holzer.
St. Vincent’s Hospital, on Seventh Avenue, is a symbolic site. In the early years of the disease, various hospitals refused to provide health care to people dealing with HIV/AIDS. St. Vincent’s was one exception. In 1984, it opened the country’s second dedicated AIDS Ward (and the first on the east coast), and provided the most renowned HIV treatment programs in the United States. It eventually came to be known as the “epicenter of NYC’s AIDS epidemic.”
In commemoration of the disease’s history, urban planners Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn joined forces in 2010 to develop the AIDS Memorial. With $5 million in funding, raised by foundations, corporations, individuals and elected officials, the abstract monument was successfully incorporated into a new public park, developed by Rudin Management.
The dedication ceremony, which featured a performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus, was hosted yesterday, coinciding with World AIDS Day, held on December 1st every year. Alongside activists and community members, city officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, attended the event.
Last year, New York City also reported a record low of 2,493 HIV diagnoses, a 8.3 percent drop from 2014, according to stats released by the health department. See photos below of the memorial under construction:
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