BROOKLYN - The same day the COVID-19 public health emergency came to an end—a ceremony was held at Green-Wood Cemetery to dedicate a new public art memorial that remembers those lost to the virus.
"I think what this demonstrates is the beauty of New York City, right?" says Council Member Alexa Aviles who represents District 38. "New Yorkers always come together—it doesn’t matter the language, where you’re from—New Yorkers support one another, so this is just an example of the vibrancy of New York City and an example of how this impacted every community across the city."
Entitled "The many losses from COVID-19," the memorial opened in early May and consists of tribute panels—adorning Green-Wood’s historic wrought-iron fence near the main entrance at Fifth Avenue at 25th street—and was created by 20 community groups from across the five Burroughs.
"I’ve seen people cry, I've seen them laugh," says Gabrielle R. Gatto Curator of Death Education with Green-Wood Cemetery, "I’ve seen people just really truly take a moment to be present."
According to numbers compiled by New York City, more than 45,000 residents have died from COVID since February 2020.
"COVID is still here and still impacting families and people over the long term," adds Aviles. "So it’s important to name the lost."
In the aftermath of the pandemic—the memorial serves as a poignant visual for the community.
"There were real difficulties in being able to express mourning," says Kay Turner, a Senior Consultant with Naming the Loss Memorials.
The memorial will be displayed until May 29th and there will also be a designated area for people to add their own contributions.