In the News: The monument gets attention across the pond

Irish Central, a news site for the Irish diaspora, reports that some Irish are angry about one of the proposed new sites for the monument for essential workers, saying it would undermine the Irish Hunger Memorial. “Not included in the initial wave of pushback is the Irish Consulate in New York City. A staff member told IrishCentral on Wednesday afternoon that while the Consulate had fielded several calls about the matter, it was waiting until it learned more details about the proposed memorial before responding.” (Thanks to I. for the link.)

Artnet also covered the monument, which I have to assume is not on their regular beat.

The Architects Newspaper also chimed in, calling the state’s plans furtive and a blindside to residents: “Somewhere along the way, The Circle of Heroes skipped a crucial step in its path to realization for a project of its size and scope: public hearings and meetings for the community to learn more about, and provide feedback to, the planned design. The furtive nature of the planned monument instantly drew outrage from city officials and blindsided Battery Park City residents who were largely unaware of the monument plans until the renderings were released and the bulldozers arrived. Opening in 1992 with a design by Carr, Lynch, Hack & Sandell (now Carr, Lynch & Sandell) with landscape architecture firm Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, the terraced Rockefeller Park features a large open lawn, ball courts, playground, lily pond, a diverse number of planted landscapes, public art, and an open-air pavilion. The area that would have given way to The Circle of Heroes is in a particularly shady swath of the park, a beloved refuge in Lower Manhattan due to its relatively spacious size and the plethora of public amenities.”

The Cultural Landscape Foundation, a non-profit that advocates for the protection of the nation’s built landscapes, has a history of BPC as seen through a landscape architect’s prism: “Lost in the furor was a key issue: is a Section 106 review pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act required because the park, designed by celebrated landscape architects James van Sweden (1935-2013) and Wolfgang Oehme (1930-2011), is likely eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places? The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), which was inundated with calls of concern, is investigating and we believe that such a review is an imperative to determine the impact and methods of mitigation. TCLF reached out to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) on Thursday, July 1, and learned the SHPO was not aware of plans for the memorial to be sited in Rockefeller Park.”



  1. . . . and the volleyball court is next to the Police Memorial so hopefully the police won’t be happy . . .

  2. It’s probably not my place to say anything, because I don’t have an artistic bone in my body…but this memorial feels really unimaginative and low effort. Two flag poles, some benches, and an eternal flame powered by what? propane? seems a little tone deaf in 2021 especially considering that the original plan was to tear up grass and knock down trees for it. At least they threw in some maples.

    It truly feels like no thought was put into any aspect of this memorial. Why can’t they start from scratch and take the time to create something truly thoughtful and that adds value to whatever space it ends up in? The Irish Hunger Memorial is a prime example of that. It’s unique, beautiful, and thought-evoking. I guess it’s more important to make some generic monument to meet their arbitrary deadline so that they can slap their names onto something than to actually commemorate the essential workers in a meaningful way. This is NYC, tap into the abundance of talent.

  3. According to the NY SHPO Cultural Resource Information System ( Battery Park appears to be not eligible. See USN 06101.008180

  4. Maples need to be planted 25 feet apart and grow typically 60 to 90 feet tall and as much as 120 feet; their leaves are large and the tree canopy huge. Any dolt can see that 20 red maples will NOT FIT in that space as they grow! Is Homeland Security aware of this plan for such a terrorist attraction – i.e. an unattended open (at the top) flame powered by a gas line, close to a ferry terminal, shopping mall, financial institutions, and large apartment buildings all full of people? This memorial as designed is not only poorly planned and designed, ugly and too big for the space, it is asking for yet another tragedy in Battery Park City; it does not belong here!

  5. Great comments and agree with all of them. Glad the professional associations are speaking out. I have one small yet not insignificant addition. Our state and city are trying to do their part to combat global warming. Doesn’t an eternal flame go against those actions? It’s small but we must all do our part and an eternal flame does not help.

  6. I don’t live in Battery Park City, but I walk down there often. It seems to me that one area that seems to need some extra foliage is Kowsky Plaza, that area just south of Pumphouse Park, right next to where that piece of the Berlin Wall stands. Not sure what those ugly trailers are doing there.

    Has that site been considered?