- Stronger Communities
- Economic Growth
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has sent the following letter to New York City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden in support of an AIDS Memorial at the former St. Vincent’s campus:
Hon. Amanda Burden, Chair
New York City Planning Commission
22 Reade Street, 2nd Floor
New York, New York 10007
RE: ULURP No. 120029ZSM
Dear Chair Burden,
In advance of the Commission’s vote on the redevelopment of the former St. Vincent’s campus, I urge the Commission to acknowledge in its report and in its vote the ongoing efforts within the community to develop and integrate a memorial to the AIDS crisis on the Triangle Site, efforts which I strongly support. By both designating an area of the Triangle Site now for the purpose of including a significant and meaningful AIDS memorial and allowing for future alterations to the park plan, the Commission can allow the application to move forward on schedule and support further community input on developing a meaningful way to acknowledge and commemorate the site’s unique historic importance to the ongoing history of the AIDS crisis.
As the site of the first AIDS ward in New York City, St. Vincent’s Hospital is considered the epicenter of the epidemic here. Since 1981, over 100,000 New York men, women and children have died from this non-discriminating disease. Failing to honor, acknowledge and remember those lives, and the work done by St. Vincent’s hospital as a first-responder in the crisis, would be a failure to recognize the crisis, its victims, and the progress made since those early years when AIDS patients had few places to seek treatment and assistance. St. Vincent’s was on the front lines of a battle that we continue to wage, and its great work, and the work of its staff, must be recognized and honored in a meaningful way through the establishment of an AIDS memorial integral to the park’s design.
There is broad-based community and city-wide support for the development of an AIDS memorial in the new triangle open space. This support comes from many individuals, neighbors, neighborhood institutions, community-based and national organizations and civic leaders. A coalition of these supporters has engaged throughout the land use process in a good faith effort to develop a memorial park at the site and integrate significant memorial features into the existing park plan. Community Board 2 and the Borough President have both acknowledged the merit and feasibility of creating an AIDS Memorial at the site.
The ULURP process requires that the Commission act on the St. Vincent’s redevelopment project today. By designating a portion of the Triangle Site as an AIDS Memorial Area in its vote and report, the Commission can allow the project to move forward while respecting the ongoing community-based process regarding integrating a significant memorial into the park.
Bill de Blasio
Public Advocate for the City of New York