Community-created memorial honoring New Yorkers lost to Covid on view at Green-Wood Cemetery

May 4, 2023

All photos courtesy of Green-Wood Cemetery

A massive new public art memorial at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery honors lives lost during the Covid-19 pandemic. Curated by Naming The Lost Memorials and City Lore, the “The Many Losses from Covid-19” memorial is made up of personalized tributes to the 79,000 New Yorkers lost to the virus, as well as those suffering from long Covid. Created by 20 local community groups, the month-long display will be located alongside the cemetery’s historic wrought-iron fence near the main entrance at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street.

Naming the Lost Memorials is a group of artists, activists, and folklorists who have created public memorial sites in New York City since May 2020 as a way to remember victims of the pandemic and bring attention to the staggering loss of life.

“Public Covid memorials help remind us that New Yorkers have suffered tremendous loss of life in this pandemic,” Kay Turner, the project’s consultant and an early project organizer, said in a statement. “We have also suffered other losses—loss of time, relationships, jobs, taste and smell. Many of our neighbors are stalled in the debilitating effects of Long COVID. NTLM creates memorials to recognize the many losses from COVID-19.”

For the Green-Wood memorial, the group collaborated with 20 community groups from across the city whose constituents have suffered significant losses from the pandemic. The memorial will be on view at the cemetery from May 3 through May 29.

Participants include:

  • Casa Yurumein
  • Arab American Association of New York
  • Guyana Cultural Association
  • Mixteca
  • Museo de Los Sures
  • Parent Child Relationship Association
  • Project Reach Youth Safe
  • Purelements Evolution in Dance
  • Women’s Empowerment Coalition of New York
  • The City’s “Missing Them”
  • The W.O.W. Project
  • Yaffa Cultural Arts
  • Bangladesh Institute of Performing Arts
  • Jews of Jackson Heights
  • International Dancer Zaman
  • La Colmena
  • Staten Island Museum
  • Jews of Color arts workshop (“The Workshop”)
  • Long Covid Justice
  • New Moon Sisters

A dedication ceremony will be held with the community partners and artists who contributed to the memorial on Thursday, May 11 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Visitors can create a tribute to be added to the memorial or write a poem,  followed by a procession from the main entrance to the cemetery’s historic chapel.

The event will also feature words from City Council Member Alexa Aviles, traditional song and dance performances, and a ritual of remembrance. Performances include folk singers from Jewish, African, African American, and Garifuna traditions, drummers representing the five boroughs, and a libation, according to Green-Wood’s website.

The ceremony is free to attend, and those interested can register here.

“As our nation and city continue to recover from the pandemic, and as we begin to open our lives to a better future, we must always remember those whose lives have been forever changed by this pandemic, whether through the loss of loved ones or the ongoing healthcare needs of those who continue to suffer,” Richard J. Moylan, president of Green-Wood, said.

Thanks to a Mellon Foundation award, Naming the Lost Memorials will be able to put together additional memorials through 2025. Some pieces from the memorials from the five-year project will be archived at the New-York Historical Society for future exhibitions and research.


All photos courtesy of Green-Wood Cemetery

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