Philip Monaghan lives a block away from the new AIDS Memorial at St. Vincent's Triangle in Greenwich Village. He remembers what it was like during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, with St. Vincent's Hospital at the epicenter.
But there was nothing in the city to note the loss of over 100,000 New Yorkers to the disease. "The city has missed having a memorial to AIDS. We haven’t had a place to come and reflect," Monaghan said.
Many New Yorkers who gathered to celebrate the opening of the new memorial at St. Vincent's Triangle expressed the same sentiment: that this memorial, about five years in the making, was a long-overdue testament to the HIV/AIDS crisis.
The structure of the memorial, designed by Studio ai, features an airy, white steel canopy made up of a jumble of triangles. It rises above a granite water fountain and pavers, designed by visual artist Jenny Holzer and engraved with passages from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself."
Others looking at the memorial say they are reminded of what could have been their own fate. Bryan Cash, a 33-year-old Brooklyn resident, remembers when he was first diagnosed with AIDS. Doctors told him he probably wouldn't make it.
"Five years later, I'm healthy and happy," he said. "It's a little surreal to look at a memorial that I was almost a part of."