An authentic 19th century Irish roofless cottage sits on a modern, angular structure located on one of the most expensive real estate in New York City. Majestic yet quaint. Quiet yet hectic. Tragic yet inspiring.
It is a garden jutting out from the earth at an angle, or in my mind, a giant skateboard tilted 45 degrees from the ground. I walked past it so many times and I have no idea it was a memorial! It could easily pass off as a wonderful park.
I walked into the ultra modern tunnel-like walkway, which I liken it to an entrance of a modern art museum. And then the landscaping hit me…
If I blocked out the high-rise buildings around me, I could make believe that I was in an Irish countryside. The landscaping is incredible. The designer, landscaper and architect did an amazing job of relocating a real piece of Ireland into New York City.
This memorial is a monument to the Great Irish Famine (1845 to 1850). On formal records, over a million people perished. About 800,000 survived by escaping to New York City which explained the strong foothold of Irish culture and heritage in the city.
Some sources called the ‘Great Irish Famine’ a cover up to the ‘Irish Holocaust’ whereby over five million Irish were murdered. They described it as genocide, mass murder and even ethnic cleansing.
Over two miles of writings based on poems, quotations and statistics related to the famine wrapped around the entrance and exterior of the memorial. Irish music and recordings of personal memoirs playing in the background pulled me back further into history. One can close one’s eyes and be lost in time.
Where: Irish Hunger Memorial (2002), corner of Vesey St and North End Ave, Battery Park City, New York City
Who: Designer, Brian Tolle. Landscape Designer, Gail Wittwer-Laird. Architect, 1100 Architect.
Why: Monument of the Great Irish Famine to highlight hunger in the world.
Copyrighted 2009 by Farting Camel.
PS: This post was originally posted on Oct 28, 2009. It has to be reposted as the database was reset.