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Thread: British Memorial Garden at Hanover Square

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  2. #17
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    DOWNTOWN EXPRESS - N0V. 19-25, 2004

    The British garden is coming, but some wonder about statue

    By Divya Watal


    "Art is made to disturb,” said Cubist painter Georges Braque in the early 20th century. Some Lower Manhattan residents would argue: if it is made to disturb, let it not appear in a public square.

    Several residents of Hanover Square in Manhattan’s Financial District are outraged about a new sculpture that is expected to decorate their neighborhood as part of the British Memorial Garden currently being constructed in the square.

    At the beginning of this month, planners of the garden removed a statue of Abraham de Peyster, mayor of New York City from 1692-94, made by 19th century American sculptor George Edwin Bissell. City Hall Park will be its new home. Its replacement — a sculpture memorializing the 67 Britons who died in the World Trade Center attacks — will arrive in Hanover Square shortly.

    “And what will replace this American statue of a New York luminary? A typical ‘English Garden’ and an ugly, monolithic, clumsy black stone — one can’t call it a sculpture — made by a British subject,” wrote Richard Fabrizio, a resident of 3 Hanover Square, in a letter to Downtown Express.

    Others in the neighborhood have praised the garden, if not the memorial.

    The new centerpiece of the square will be “Unity,” a 20-foot tall, 60-ton black-granite monolith, gutted to reveal a polished inner chamber, which reflects light to simulate an eternal flame. Acclaimed British sculptor Anish Kapoor designed the monument after winning a juried competition set up by the British Memorial Garden Trust.

    The Trust, supported by New York City officials and the British Consulate-General, is a not-for-profit corporation administered by St. George’s Society, with the Prince of Wales acting as its royal patron.

    The city’s Arts Commission approved the creation of the garden earlier this year in March, after Community Board 1 endorsed it. Scheduled for completion by fall 2005, the garden will celebrate the historic ties linking the United States and the United Kingdom. It is intended as a place of solitude, comfort and reflection — it will be a gift to the people of New York, the Trust says.

    “We have not had any negative feedback,” said Camilla Hellman, president of the Trust, adding that members of the Lower Manhattan community worked closely with the Trust since the inception of the project. All decisions went through C.B. 1, she said, and everyone agreed the garden would help revive Lower Manhattan.

    However, Fabrizio and a few other residents say, “an assault has occurred on the community.”

    “The Peyster statue is humanistic — it uplifts people. The replacement is just big — it’s industrial and totally uninteresting,” Fabrizio said. “There’s so much ugliness in the city. Why do we need more?”

    Although residents have not seen the sculpture yet — they have only seen images of it — they fear that the looming black block will remind them of events they would rather forget.

    “Many of us think the square will look like a cemetery. The sculpture will refresh memories of the W.T.C. attacks — we don’t want that,” said Cindy Leung, a 3 Hanover Square resident.

    “It’s unfortunate that the planners of the garden could not accommodate the Peyster statue,” said Jonathan Greenspan, treasurer of the 3 Hanover Square cooperative and member of C.B. 1. He added that the new sculpture was inappropriate because “it looks like a tombstone.”

    However, Greenspan said that the garden was an improvement on the asphalt-covered square. “We love the idea of the park — the park is good, the sculpture is bad,” he said.

    “Sure, we miss the Peyster statue,” said Joel Kopel, a C.B. 1 member and Hanover Square resident. He agreed with Greenspan that the garden was an upgrade to the square’s current aesthetic situation but that the new sculpture was offensive. “Would I like to see him [Peyster] stay? Absolutely, but it’s not part of the Trust’s plan.”

    However, not everyone sees the new plan for Hanover Square as problematic. Catherine McVay Hughes, also a member of C.B. 1, said the overall plan for the garden “looks phenomenal.”

    “Why would they [Hanover Square residents] be upset about a statue?” she said.


    This statue of the city’s 20th mayor, Abraham de Peyster, was removed from Hanover Square a few weeks ago and will be placed in City Hall Park to make room for a British Memorial Garden, in honor of the 67 British victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Local residents have praised the proposed garden although a few have objected to the design for the memorial sculpture, right.

    Downtown Express photos by Jennifer Bodrow

  3. #18

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    Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

    Sir Phillip Thomas, British Consul-General, Camilla Hellman, president of the British Memorial Garden Trust, and Adrian Benepe broke ground on the garden at Hanover Square.

    Work begins on Downtown’s British Memorial Garden

    By M.L. Liu


    Against the sound of jackhammers and machinery, the groundbreaking ceremony for the British Memorial Garden at Hanover Square was held this past Tuesday morning.


    Adrian Benepe, the city’s Parks Department commissioner, referred to construction going on across the street as a sign that others were invested in the future of Lower Manhattan. He described the garden as a celebration of the friendship and alliance between Great Britain and the United States, saying that it would be “one of the great public spaces, the great public gardens of New York City.”


    The British Memorial Garden in Hanover Square will also commemorate the 67 British citizens who died in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.


    Sir Philip Thomas, British Consul-General in New York, and Camilla Hellman, president and executive director of the British Memorial Garden Trust, also spoke at the ceremony. Hellman thanked those present for their support of the garden, which has been in development for over two years and which is scheduled to open next year.


    Rufus Albemarle, artistic director of the British Memorial Garden Trust, seemed satisfied with the group’s progress so far. “There’s a lot of different sets of difficulties that one has to go through to get a park built,” he said after the ceremony.


    Asked if he had heard any complaints from local residents about British sculptor Anish Kapoor’s design for a memorial in the garden, Albemarle said, “In any good thing there’s resistance. Are they resisting the fact that there’s art in the park? Or are they resisting because they don’t like the artist? If they understand that it’s a gift to New York City, they would see it in a different light.”


    A bedsheet with the words “NYC Park for NYC Children” painted on it was tied at some point during the ceremony to the outside of the chain-link fence surrounding Hanover Square, indicating perhaps that there are some who oppose the way this three-quarter acre space will be developed.


    Kevin Buckley and some other residents of 3 Hanover Square, which adjoins the square, said in telephone interviews that they have not been properly informed about the British Memorial Garden’s development. “I only found out about the garden through doing research on the Internet,” said Buckley.


    While Buckley praised the idea of the garden, he said the memorial should have been more in keeping with the neighborhood’s historic style.


    Cindy, who declined to give her last name, and Shane Gritzinger, also residents of 3 Hanover Square, expressed concerns about pedestrian safety and the amount of noise that would be generated by additional construction in front of their building.

    Email: news@downtownexpress.com

  4. #19

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    Hanover Square, future British Memorial Garden
    Work Begins on British Memorial Garden

    LMDC website
    May 9, 2005

    Seeds from the Prince of Wales' Highgrove estate, stone quarried in Scotland, City of London-style bollards, slate carved in Wales -- such are the elements that will memorialize the 67 Britons lost on September 11, 2001, in Lower Manhattan. They are the carefully chosen pieces that will soon comprise the $6.5 million British Memorial Garden, a "living memorial" and public park to be constructed in the Financial District's Hanover Square beginning*Tuesday, May 10.

    The garden is the brainchild of Camilla Hellman, an English native who came to New York in the early 1990s and now serves as the president of the British Memorial Garden Trust. Hellman conceived of the idea as a way to honor the lives lost in the World Trade Center disaster and to signify the United Kingdom's commitment to Lower Manhattan's revitalization.

    "British families will visit the World Trade Center site," Hellman says. "We want them to be able to go to a place nearby to sit and reflect and understand New York, and feel better and feel renewed."

    Hellman founded the trust in May 2003 and soon after began the search for the garden's future home -- a hunt that ended almost as soon as it began. "We walked through Hanover Square," Hellman recalls. "I felt so comfortable there. It felt right. I knew it would be this treasure."

    Her sense was more fitting than she knew, considering Hanover's Square's distinct British history.

    The three-quarter-acre triangular plot was an original waterfront dock in 17th-century New Amsterdam -- renamed "New York" under British rule in 1664. Over the next three decades, landfill pushed the waterfront south and east, creating "Queen Street" (now Pearl Street). Houses were built along the new thoroughfare, including that of New York Mayor (1692-94) Abraham de Peyster. Soon, a city square emerged. It was named "Hanover Square" in 1714 for the accession of George I, Elector of Hanover, to the British throne.

    The square's British roots were made even more noteworthy in the late 18th century, when the city converted most street names from Anglo to American monikers in honor of the newly established United States. Queen became Pearl Street, Crown became Liberty Street, Duke became Stone Street. Around that time, Hanover Square virtually disappeared, blending into Pearl Street. But in 1830, popular demand returned it to the map - complete with its original, British-inspired name.
    *
    The Garden is designed to resemble an English flower gardenPlans for the British Memorial Garden will take Hanover Square's heritage to the hilt. For starters, its designers will be Julian and Isabel Bannerman, renowned landscape architects who often work for the British royal family. Married since 1982, the Bannermans have designed the space to resemble a classic British flower garden, built entirely with U.K.-sourced, custom-made elements.

    Their concept incorporates native British foliage like yew and boxwood hedges, topiaries, and formal flowerbeds, with garden walkways paved in a dark, reflective stone from Caithness, Scotland. A lighter-toned limestone from Morayshire, Scotland, will be carved into a "ribbon of counties" representing the entire United Kingdom. A water rill built from Welsh slate will run through the triangular garden, between benches carved from Portland, Ireland, stone and iron bollards fashioned in London.

    British victims of 9/11 will be commemorated in the "memorial railing" that will run through the garden, topped by gilded obelisks representing , Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
    *
    Kapoor's "Unity" sculpture will reflect light in its interior chamberCelebrated British artist Anish Kapoor won a 2004 competition to design the memorial sculpture. He is creating the 20-feet-tall, black granite work entitled "Unity." The monolithic piece will be hollowed in the center and polished to a mirror finish that will reflect light, suggestive of an eternal flame.

    "It will be a very powerful piece, with a tunnel of light, suggesting unity, strength, and peace," Hellman says. "[His work] makes you feel like you're a part of it."

    After nearly two years of rousing support and funds, Hellman says the trust is right where it needs to be, having secured Prince Charles as the garden's Royal Patron, hosting a visit by Princess Anne, and exhibiting pieces destined for the garden in London's Grosvenor Square. She and her colleagues at the trust continue to fundraise for the garden's endowment and ongoing-maintenance and are coordinating construction with city agencies and community groups such as the Alliance for Downtown New York and Community Board 1.
    *
    All garden elements will be custom made in the U.K.The garden's groundbreaking is now set for May 2005, with the bulk of the paving scheduled to be done by winter, followed by spring 2006 plantings and the installment of Kapoor's sculpture -- which replaces the 1896 sculpture of de Peyster (to be relocated to City Hall Park).

    Hellman encourages downtowners to join in the trust's efforts. "We want the community to become involved because it's their garden," she says. "I hope it will become a part of Lower Manhattan life. We are honored to leave a legacy to the city, and to be a living memorial that reflects the relationship between New York and London."

    Click here to visit the website for the British Memorial Garden and here*to visit the U.S.Congress's website for 9/11 living memorials.

    Visit LowerManhattan.info/Construction*in the coming weeks for details about construction of the British*Memorial*Garden.

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    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    A recent photo of the ongoing work at the British Memorial Garden (Hanover Square). Prince Charles and Camilla unveiled a cornerstone there yesterday.
    Last edited by NYatKNIGHT; June 17th, 2008 at 05:37 PM.

  6. #21

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    The garden may actually be completed this spring.



    The brownstone India House is in the background.

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    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    While Buckley praised the idea of the garden, he said the memorial should have been more in keeping with the neighborhood’s historic style.
    Good Grief! Why do some people think everything in an urban environment has to match like curtains and tableware? The Europeans are refreshing in that they don't mind placing a glass pyramid next to the Louvre, or a modern train station next to an historic treasure. If it is done artistically, the effect is
    awesome.

  8. #23

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    I agree with you on that Midtown Guy - something is usually 'outstanding' because it 'stands out' rather than blends in.

    It's wonderful to see all the pockets of parkland development currently planned or under way in New York.

    Hey - it's not just us Europeans - your city does a pretty fine job of "mixing and matching". I love the way that those modern structures nestle in with buildings that have been there for decade upon decade.

  9. #24
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Anyone know what's up with construction of this garden? It seems to have stalled / stopped a couple of months ago ...

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    Glad you asked...I asked that question last week to the British Memorial Garden Trust:

    http://www.britishmemorialgarden.org/intro.html

    Answer from 8/24/06:

    Thank you so much for your note of concern about the British Memorial Garden. We have been under constant construction since May 2005, with some delays brought on by unmapped Con Edison conduits and stone shortages. These issues have now been addressed and work will resume on the park very shortly. With the arrival and installation of the stone benches and planters, and with the permission of the Dept. of Parks & Recreation, the British Memorial Garden will open to the public this fall. The planting and embellishments for the garden will occur in the spring, in time for the formal opening ceremony.

    Again, thank you for your interest in the garden.

  11. #26
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update ...

    One of the problems of construction in Manhattan: Once you start digging a hole there's no telling what you'll run into.

  12. #27

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    I love PR announcements.

    If you look at those two photos, NYatKnight's shows stone work already starting in Nov, and mine shows it almost done in March. It hasn't changed much since.

    stone shortages.

    What, the quarries can't find any to cut?

    Seems to me to be money shortages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    Thanks for the update ...

    One of the problems of construction in Manhattan: Once you start digging a hole there's no telling what you'll run into.
    Tell me about it...I live across from 15 William St. Bedrock. Nothing quiet about pulling out those weeds.

  14. #29
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Work has started up on this park again ... the curving stone benches are in the process of being installed.

    Here's some info from the park website:

    Mourne granite set for inclusion in 9/11 garden

    New York architect visits Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, to inspect Portland stone benches



    Mourne Observer, 15 February 2006:

    Granite from Mourne, Northern Ireland, is set to feature in the New York memorial garden for British victims of the 9/11 terror attacks.

    There had been no plans to use the local granite in the construction of the $6 million garden in the centre of New York but after visiting Mourne a leading American architect said he believed it would be fitting to incorporate it.

    Mr. John Kinnear, who has been project architect for the memorial garden since its outset, was paying a visit to S. McConnell and Sons to inspect the Portland stone benches the Kilkeel firm is making for the garden.

    After hearing about the rich heritage of Mourne granite during his visit Mr. Kinnear said a place should be found for the local stone in the park, which is being built on a three quarters of an acre site in the Wall Street area of New York.

    It is hoped Mourne granite will be part of the ‘memorial railing’ that will commemorate the 67 British people who died in the September 11 attack on the Twin Towers.

    “We are having a traditional metal railing, which is coming from York in England,” Mr. Kinnear explained.

    “It will have 67 obelisk finials on the railing and each of them is going to have one of the four symbols of the United Kingdom on it, the rose, the thistle, the flax for Northern Ireland and the daffodil for Wales. That fence is 140 ft long and it is going to sit on a granite kerb. Because of this trip I am going to propose we use the local granite.”

    The New York man was paying his first ever visit to Northern Ireland, a journey that was delayed by nine hours because of the snow blizzards that struck the city.

    “I was over to London to see the Diana Memorial and some of the other work carried out by S. McConnell and Sons,” Mr. Kinnear said. “I can say we were very impressed. That essentially clinched it, we knew that they had the technology and skill to undertake this job.”

    Norman McKibbin, Managing Director of S. McConnell and Sons, estimated it would take three to four weeks to complete the production of the benches and another three weeks for them to be shipped to New York.

    The funding for the memorial garden is being raised privately without contributions from the American and British Governments.

    S. McConnell and Sons is treating the job as a non-profit making venture and the benches are being transported to America free of charge by P&O. It is expected the garden will be completed this summer and officially opened in early 2007.

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    should be nice with stone street in spring...

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