Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo and community leaders celebrated the commencement of construction on Circle of Heroes, a new monument in Battery Park City. The monument will honor the continuous dedication and sacrifices made by essential workers in New York State.
The monument is expected to be completed by Labor Day, September 6. The surrounding waterfront green space, Essential Worker Park, will also honor New York’s heroes.
“In the beginning of the pandemic when people were told to stay home, essential workers went into work day after day, making sure their fellow New Yorkers were safe, fed, and cared for,” Governor Cuomo said. “While we will never be able to fully repay our essential workers, we can honor and celebrate them with this monument that will stand forever as a tribute to all that they have done for New York in our greatest moment of need and beyond. These heroes continue to inspire us every day and we are forever grateful for their service and sacrifice.”
Renderings of the monument illustrate 19 red maple trees symbolizing the many essential trades and professions that carried New York through the pandemic. The 19 groups include nurses, doctors, healthcare workers, transit workers, police officers, EMTS and paramedics, firefighters, correctional officers, store employees, National Guard, government employees, building service workers, utility and communications workers, delivery drivers, teachers, sanitation workers, construction and manufacturing workers, food service workers, and hospitality workers.
The monument will also feature an eternal flame meant to represent New York State’s everlasting gratitude for essential workers, curving benches and pathways, shaded lawns, and commemorative plaques.
Design of the monument and the surrounding park was vetted and approved by the governor’s Essential Workers Monument Advisory Committee. The committee comprises more than two dozen members from local unions, trade associations, and labor and police organizations.
“Through the pandemic, essential workers showed their strengths and just how invaluable they are to our communities,” said president of the New York State Building & Construction Trades Council, Gary LaBarbera. “This space will be an incredible place to gather with loved ones to reflect on the unprecedented experience of COVID-19 and just how formidable we become when we band together.”