New York now has a monument to honor Hurricane Maria victims
The work, designed by architect Segundo Cardona and artist Antonio Martorell, was planned after the first anniversary of the disaster and is finally coming to light.
The governor of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, inaugurated last Friday 26 March the Hurricane Maria Memorial, which pays tribute to the victims of the cyclone that hit Puerto Rico in 2017 and which aims to be a symbol of "resilience of the Puerto Rican community," according to the New York City Council.
Designed by Puerto Rican architect Segundo Cardona and artist Antonio Martorell following the recommendation made by the Hurricane Memorial Commission to Cuomo's office, the monument is located at the Chambers Street overlook in Battery Park City, next to the waterfront promenade.
"New York was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters when they needed our help the most, and we will never forget the victims who tragically lost their lives to Hurricane Maria," said Governor Cuomo. "We committed to have a Memorial symbolizing the spirit and perseverance of the Puerto Rican people completed in one year's time, and today we deliver on that promise. New York continues to stand with Puerto Rico, and this monument will serve as testament to that enduring partnership today, tomorrow and always."
The memorial is an ascending spiral of glass evoking a hurricane, as well as a shell symbolising protection from extreme and hostile weather.
The memorial projects beams of sunlight in blue, orange and red onto visitors, and the spiral is topped by the star of the Puerto Rican flag representing hope in the midst of devastation.
Martorell painted the glass panels designed by Cardona, which include a poem by one of Puerto Rico's most beloved poets, Julia de Burgos, who was based in New York and wrote verses to the Puerto Rican resistance:
"Adiós desde la isla del bienestar” was Burgos' only poem written in English, which in turn highlights this historic bridge between the island and New York City.
The monument also includes benches inside for visitors to sit on, and at its base is a dedication from the people of New York.
"As well as many other Puerto Ricans, we witnessed firsthand the terrible effects of Hurricane Maria. Our proposal for the creation of a memorial in New York City to remember the victims of the hurricane arose from a shared vision that one can always transform the sad memory of adverse circumstances into something positive and poetic that can bring solace to all," Cardona and Martorell concluded.