Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 07, 2016, 06:03:09 PM

Login with username, password and session length

  • Total Members: 29684
  • Latest: dcx516
  • Total Posts: 704598
  • Total Topics: 56092
  • Online Today: 268
  • Online Ever: 1421
  • (August 13, 2016, 05:18:44 AM)
Users Online
Users: 5
Guests: 247
Total: 252


Welcome to the POZ Community Forums, a round-the-clock discussion area for people with HIV/AIDS, their friends/family/caregivers, and others concerned about HIV/AIDS.  Click on the links below to browse our various forums; scroll down for a glance at the most recent posts; or join in the conversation yourself by registering on the left side of this page.

Privacy Warning:  Please realize that these forums are open to all, and are fully searchable via Google and other search engines. If you are HIV positive and disclose this in our forums, then it is almost the same thing as telling the whole world (or at least the World Wide Web). If this concerns you, then do not use a username or avatar that are self-identifying in any way. We do not allow the deletion of anything you post in these forums, so think before you post.

  • The information shared in these forums, by moderators and members, is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between an individual and his/her own physician.

  • All members of these forums are, by default, not considered to be licensed medical providers. If otherwise, users must clearly define themselves as such.

  • Forums members must behave at all times with respect and honesty. Posting guidelines, including time-out and banning policies, have been established by the moderators of these forums. Click here for “Am I Infected?” posting guidelines. Click here for posting guidelines pertaining to all other POZ community forums.

  • We ask all forums members to provide references for health/medical/scientific information they provide, when it is not a personal experience being discussed. Please provide hyperlinks with full URLs or full citations of published works not available via the Internet. Additionally, all forums members must post information which are true and correct to their knowledge.

  • Product advertisement—including links; banners; editorial content; and clinical trial, study or survey participation—is strictly prohibited by forums members unless permission has been secured from POZ.

To change forums navigation language settings, click here (members only), Register now

Para cambiar sus preferencias de los foros en español, haz clic aquí (sólo miembros), Regístrate ahora

Finished Reading This? You can collapse this or any other box on this page by clicking the symbol in each box.

Author Topic: NYC Dedicates AIDS Memorial  (Read 1454 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Miss Philicia

  • Member
  • Posts: 24,793
  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
NYC Dedicates AIDS Memorial
« on: December 01, 2008, 10:32:40 PM »


December 1, 2008

A Quiet Place to Remember Lost Friends


At 4 o’clock on Sunday morning, Andrew Marber was wide awake, thinking of his past and the people who populated it. He got out of bed and pulled out two address books, his own and another, a small, overflowing black book that had belonged to his late companion. He flipped through the two books until he was satisfied he’d written down all the names of the close friends who had died of AIDS in the late ’80s and ’90s: Richard Blumenkranz, Ronnie Fox, Don Green, and so on, until there were 10 names on a small white piece of paper.

Back then, like so many people who lived in the West Village, Mr. Marber spent almost every weekend attending one memorial service or another, if not for a close friend, then for a familiar neighborhood face. There were the somber ceremonies in chapels and the ones with musical performances and the one with a display of a fantastic hat collection belonging to the deceased — that was the most painful service, the one for his own partner, Drew Jewett, who died in 1994.

Mr. Marber didn’t know it at the time, but that same year, Lawrence Swehla, a New York City schoolteacher, decided that the city should have a permanent public outdoor AIDS memorial. He started holding meetings to establish a monument that would pay tribute to the community’s collective sense of loss.

Right about now you may be trying to remember where that AIDS memorial ended up — somewhere in Central Park? Did you walk by it once in Battery Park and take a picture with that friend from out of town? Did they end up putting it somewhere in Union Square?

UNLIKELY as it seems, until this week, New York City, long considered the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in this country, had no such memorial in place.

Monuments lend themselves most naturally to finitude, a luxury that Mr. Swehla’s cause didn’t have, and still doesn’t. The lack of a cure and the number of people still suffering — 90,000 New Yorkers live with H.I.V. — made fund-raising for an abstract symbol a sensitive task for Mr. Swehla: Letters asked donors to give, but not if it meant they would limit their donations to research.

And Mr. Swehla quickly learned that erecting a monument, even one with passion and momentum behind it, is a considerable challenge. The city started by giving Mr. Swehla a list of every park in New York where his group shouldn’t even think of trying to put one. And then they were on their own, scouring the streets for fitting locations, and trying to raise money.

Month after month, Mr. Swehla and his team, a nonprofit group called the AIDS Monument Committee, met to strategize; logistical glitches surfaced, were surmounted and then resurfaced. The organization’s treasurer died of AIDS just a few years after the project started, and a few years later, another board member, Michael LaPlaca, lost his partner to the same disease.

By 2003, when Mr. Marber first heard of the project and decided to get involved, the enthusiasm of the earlier crowds had faded, and only a handful of board members kept attending the monthly meetings.

Late Sunday morning, Mr. Marber joined Mr. Swehla and three other board members at a spot in Hudson River Park near the end of Bank Street where Pier 46 used to extend into the water. In the steady, cold rain, the four men and one woman huddled in hats, holding umbrellas.

“It started like a cruise, and ended like a shipwreck,” said Michael Sypulski, an artist who joined the efforts early on. “There’s just a few of us straggling on shore.”

Bedraggled or not, all five were beaming, Mr. Swehla most of all. In front of him, a semicircular balcony hung gracefully over the water. Behind him, on a green knoll, a footpath curved around, with a 42-foot black granite bench echoing its curve. Inscribed in the granite were words thought to originate in a Scandinavian folk song: “I can sail without wind; I can sail without oars. But I cannot part from my friend without tears.”

From the bench, a visitor could look out on the water, or contemplate the pilings where the pier used to be, a memory, for some, of liberated if debauched times, a metaphorical reminder, for others, of loss and absence — a ruin.

In 2005, the Hudson River Park Trust offered the site, and a year later, Scott Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, set aside $40,000 for the monument’s construction. On Sunday, the day before World AIDS Day, 30 or so people, mostly men, gathered under a tent and watched the dedication of the memorial. State Senator Thomas K. Duane spoke, Mr. Swehla offered thanks, and the Rev. Pat Bumgardner, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church on the West Side, gave a blessing as heads bowed.

The dedication started at 12:30, but an hour earlier, Mr. Marber had already caught a glimpse of what the memorial might come to mean in the landscape of New York. In the rain, a lone man had made his way to the bench, and had walked slowly down its length, his hand dragging along its surface as he moved.

Mr. Marber’s own silent tribute sat in his pocket: that small scrap of paper with the 10 names he’d written down that morning. “I wanted to keep them close by,” he said.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline Jody

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,919
Re: NYC Dedicates AIDS Memorial
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2008, 10:57:47 PM »
Thanks Philly for the news...It is a shame New York City never had a formal place before, in a way it is just like New York to think it is somehow above such a memorial or to let itself get all caught up in red tape and delays and such foolishness so as to not get the job done.

But it's never too late and hopefully, if it's not too expensive and can be worked out, then one day we can have an AMG here and a memorial service down there by the water and pay our respects in America's largest city.

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

Grateful Dead


Terms of Membership for these forums

© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved.   terms of use and your privacy
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.