New New York City memorial honors Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria

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Saturday, March 27, 2021
New memorial honors Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria
A memorial was unveiled in New York City this week to honor the Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria.

BATTERY PARK CITY, Manhattan (WABC) -- A memorial was unveiled in New York City this week to honor the Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria.

The structure is a new addition to the landscape in Battery Park City and is open to the public at the Chambers Street Overlook.

The memorial both honors the victims and stands a symbol of the resilience of the Puerto Rican community and encompasses a variety of shapes and bold colors.

"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," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "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 glass spiral which is evocative of a hurricane, as well as a shell -- which is a symbol of protection. It also projects beams of blue, red and orange sunlight on visitors.

It was designed by architect Segundo Cardona and artist Antonio Martorell. They beat out 120 other entries in a contest that was launched by Cuomo.

"As well as many other Puerto Ricans, we witnessed firsthand the terrible effects of Hurricane Maria," Cardona and Martorell said. "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. The poem Farewell from Welfare Island, by one of Puerto Rico's greatest poets, Julia de Burgos, is interpreted as organic shapes of calligraphy resulting in a boisterous expression of color, letters, and shapes. Its message, both timeless and specific, is sensitive to New Yorkers and to the Puerto Rican community of any gender and age. A message intended to involve passersby, invite curiosity, provoke thought and invoke contemplation."

Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017.

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