Greenwich Village memorial honors Pulse nightclub shooting victims, LGBTQ history

A new LGBT memorial in Hudson River Park is designed to commemorate the victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla. Photo Credit: Vincent Barone

“This memorial saddens us … but it also enlightens us and also inspires us,” Gov. Cuomo said.

A new LGBT memorial in Hudson River Park is designed to commemorate the victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla.
A new LGBT memorial in Hudson River Park is designed to commemorate the victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla. Photo Credit: Lisa L. Colangelo

New York City is sending a permanent message of solidarity to Orlando.

On the morning of the 2018 Pride March, elected officials and members of the LGBTQ community ceremoniously opened a new memorial in Hudson River Park to honor victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, and to commemorate gay pride in the city. The monument, a series of nine modified boulders set in a circular pattern, was placed in a Greenwich Village stretch of the park, with designed views of the Christopher Street pier and Statue of Liberty.

“It’s simple, but it is a profound promise: it says acceptance of all, as individuals, acceptance of differences, opportunity for all and it says discrimination of none,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who shepherded the memorial’s creation. “That is the simple, powerful promise that brought millions of people to this state and this nation, and New York will carry the torch for that promise.”

Artist Anthony Goicolea designed the monument, and said it was crafted for passers-by to sit and reflect. The monument is a way to honor the 49 victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando in June 2016, he said, as well as Greenwich Village’s storied LGBTQ history. As a gay man who grew up in conservative Georgia, Goicolea moved to New York in the early 1990s and was inspired by the sense of community and pride among the neighborhood’s gay and transgender residents.

“The arrangement of the stones in circular formation invites people into a safe harbor along the river and beckons the visitors to rest upon them,” Goicolea said. “They become the pedestals for the true monument: the community, a community of different people who come to sit visit, commune, mourn love and remember.”

Some of the boulders are incised with clear, laminated borosilicate-glass that reflects rainbow patterns on the surrounding lawn.

While President Donald Trump was not mentioned by name, Cuomo did say the nation was in a “point of disruption and turmoil.” He spoke to the importance of diversity and subtly criticized the president’s policies for handling undocumented migrants trying to gain access to the country. Cuomo also lamented that Congress has not taken action to stop the “senseless” mass shootings across the country.

“This spot says that, for all we’ve done, fear and bigotry and ignorance are still alive. For all we’ve said and done, we still discriminate and discrimination is still alive and well,” Cuomo said. “This memorial saddens us when we think about the Orlando 49 senseless deaths, but it also enlightens us and also inspires us.”

Vincent Barone