Congressman Nadler Leads Local Leaders at Rally Celebrating Battery Park City Authority's Decision to Pause Memorial Development
Washington, July 12, 2021
New York, NY - Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, Community Board 1 Chair Tammy Meltzer, Eric Gyasi from the Battery Park City Neighborhood Association, and Robin Forst from the Gateway Plaza Tenant's Association joined at the Irish Hunger Memorial to celebrate the Battery Park City Authority's (BPCA) decision to establish an advisory committee to plan the design and site for a memorial to COVID-19 essential workers. The committee, which will include local stakeholders, was formed after extensive protests from the Battery Park community over a planning process devoid of community engagement or public input, resulting in proposals that would have deprived Battery Park residents of precious park space and destroyed existing, beloved community memorials.
"Today's decision is a clear and decisive victory for Battery Park residents who literally laid their bodies on the line to stand up for their neighborhood," said Congressman Nadler. "I'm grateful to the Governor and to the BPCA for their willingness to listen to local residents. While we all share in the desire to honor essential workers, it is vital that the process to do so includes public input so that these heroes receive the monument they deserve. I’m proud the Battery Park City community was able to come together to preserve much-loved open spaces. This triumph is theirs."
“I’m heartened to hear that Governor Cuomo and the Battery Park City Authority have listened to feedback from elected officials and advocates and will form an advisory committee on a monument to honor essential workers here in Battery Park City,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Honoring our heroes is important but we must also balance that need with providing open space to keep our city livable and healthy.”
“As we reflect on the invaluable contributions of essential workers that carried New York through the pandemic--and the many lives lost--this proposed monument is an opportunity for a meaningful testament to their immense sacrifice,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh. “I am pleased that the BPCA and the Governor's Office have stepped back from the rush toward completing construction by Labor Day and will instead convene an advisory committee to thoughtfully consider how best to honor essential workers.”
“This is a highly encouraging development that offers our community more time to discuss how best to honor the essential workers who guided New York through this pandemic,” said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “This positive step would not have happened without the voices and the efforts of advocates from across our community, from neighborhood organizations to my elected colleagues. I look forward to hearing what our friends and neighbors think as the process moves forward.”
"I am so pleased that the Governor and the Battery Park City Authority have agreed to allow for a more inclusive public process in order to design a monument that will honor the tremendous essential workers who sacrificed so much to support the City through this unprecedented crisis," said Assembly Member Glick. "I appreciate the advocacy of community members and my colleagues representing Lower Manhattan, and look forward to the creation of a monument that both honors essential workers and includes the preservation of open recreation space that is vital to the health and well-being of Lower Manhattan residents and visitors."
"This is a significant win for the Battery Park City residents, who were quick to rally neighbors around the need for a more democratic process for monument siting," said City Council Member Margaret Chin. "I am pleased that the Governor and Battery Park City Authority have taken the time to listen to the local community, and I look forward to working with them to ensure we can honor our essential workers in a meaningful way that also preserves green open space for the public."
“While I am gratified to learn of the delay in construction of an Essential Workers Memorial, “the new site should be in a community, like mine, where many of the essential workers live and work,” said NYC Council Finance Chair Daniel Dromm. “The Governor should consider placing it near Elmhurst Hospital - the epicenter of the epicenter.”
“Today Governor Cuomo showed the people of Lower Manhattan that he is listening," said Tammy Meltzer, Chair of Manhattan Community Board 1. “Public memorials and monuments deserve a public process to uplift voices from neighborhoods, workers, designers and visitors so that those most affected, the communities and their families can begin to heal and what remains is sustainable for the future. We are thankful for the revisions to the process and hopeful that the advisory committee that was announced today has an open mind to locations and upholds the twin principles of transparency and inclusiveness that this conversation demands.”
"BPCNA recognizes the deep and ongoing sacrifices of our essential workers who continue to support New York State’s recovery from the ravages of Covid-19," said the Battery Park City Neighborhood Association. "We appreciate the BPCA and Governor’s Office willingness to listen to widespread and passionate community feedback regarding the importance of all types of open space to the community, residents, and visitors. We applaud the announcement of BPCA’s next steps for an open & deliberative process inclusive of all stakeholders."
"First, thank you to Rep. Nadler and our other elected officials who stood with our community regarding the Essential Workers Monument," said Jeff Galloway, Gateway Plaza Tenants Association Executive Committee Member. "We are, of course, gratified by the decision to delay the construction of the Monument to provide for greater participation by the many stakeholders affected by this. The Gateway Plaza Tenants Association looks forward to being actively engaged in the process and hopes that Governor Cuomo and BPCA will be willing to cast a wider net, both in terms of design and in terms of location. We are hopeful that, once again, our entire community will come together with shared purpose and goals."
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