Save Our Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument
We join our elected officials in demanding action. Please add your name to the letter below.
Hon. Bill de Blasio
Mayor, City of New York
New York, NY 10007
Hon. Corey Johnson
NYC Council Speaker
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 Vdiazfirstname.lastname@example.org.
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