Save Our Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

We join our elected officials in demanding action. Please add your name to the letter below.

Parts of the retaining walls are literally falling apart, and the Monument is fenced off due to unsafe conditions.
Decades of water damage are evident in the form of cracked stonework, surface erosion, and weakening of previous repairs.
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Hon. Bill de Blasio
Mayor, City of New York
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Hon. Corey Johnson
NYC Council Speaker
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson:

We write to express our urgent concern about the condition of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Riverside Park. A tribute to the brave soldiers who gave their lives to defend the Union in the Civil War, this monument today has become dangerous, and is now fenced off to the public.

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument is one of the most magnificent Civil War structures in the United States. The cornerstone was laid in 1899 by New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt, 34 years after Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. It was dedicated on May 30, 1902, and today it is a landmark and shrine for veterans of all U.S. wars. New York City’s annual Memorial Day observance is held there every year.

There has been no significant maintenance of this monument since 1962, and as a result, the mortar joints on the monument and surrounding plazas, steps, cheek walls, and retaining walls are failing. The entire monument is in a state of severe disrepair, and it is getting worse due to severe water damage.

According to a study conducted in 2016, with prices escalated to 2023 (the year construction could start if an allocation were made in this year’s budget), restoring the monument and plazas will cost $36.5 million. However, if the City were to wait three years, the cost would go up to $46.1 million, and over five years, it would rise to $53.7 million.

While those sums are large, the cost of doing nothing is infinitely more expensive. The condition of the monument gets worse by the day, and it will become a ruin over time. The thought of having this happen is unacceptable and unimaginable, yet inevitable, in the absence of immediate action by the City. At such time that it can no longer be repaired, the cost of demolishing it, removing debris, and replacing it as parkland would likely be nearly <$150 million, a cost which itself will escalate over time. The harm to all of us for allowing such a thing to happen to a monument for our veterans is incalculable.

We understand the competing needs for capital allocations, but the urgency of this situation requires public investment today.

Thank you for your support. If you have questions, please contact Vanessa Diaz-Lopez, my Director of Budget and Capital Projects at 212-669-4814 or Vdiaz-lopez@manhattanbp.nyc.gov.

Sincerely,

Hon. Gale A. Brewer Manhattan Borough President

Hon. Jerrold Nadler Congress Member

Hon. Helen Rosenthal City Council Member, 6th District

Hon. Mark Levine City Council Member, 7th District

Hon. Robert Jackson NYS Senator, 31st Senate District

Hon. Linda B. Rosenthal Assembly Member, 67th District

Hon. Jose M. Serrano, Jr. NYS Senator, 29th Senate District

Hon. Al Taylor Assembly Member, 71st District

Hon. Adriano Espaillat Congress Member

Hon. Daniel O’Donnell Assembly Member, 69th District

Hon. Ydanis Rodriguez City Council Member, 10th District