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New York

Irish Hunger Memorial: New York City

Not far from Ground Zero, the Battery Park City neighborhood in lower Manhattan has greatly changed in the years since 9/11.

Irish Hunger Memorial wall brickwork Photo © Alice Joyce

The Alliance for Downtown New York now provides a free shuttle bus, making it incredibly convenient to enjoy the restaurants, endless activities, and green spaces encompassed within the bustling districts of lower Manhattan.

Irish Hunger Memorial Interior Photo © Alice Joyce

I stepped off a shuttle bus at an unexpected stop, catching sight of a poignantly composed green sward.

Designed by artist Brian Tolle, with landscape architect Gail Wittwer-Laird among the project’s team, The Irish Hunger Memorial commemorates the famine of the mid-1880s, and at the same time, raises awareness for all who face hunger in the world today.

Irish Hunger Memorial Photo © Alice Joyce

An authentic stone cottage from County Mayo is incorporated into the transformative, cantilevered terrain of the 1/2-acre site, where the pathways wind through a landscape planted with native species from Ireland.

Irish Hunger Memorial Wall Detail Photo © Alice Joyce

An architectural expanse of Irish limestone and glass reveals layers of text, bringing to light and involving the visitor in a commentary spanning historical and contemporary issues.

Irish Hunger Memorial Building Photo © Alice Joyce

At the Memorial’s high point, a vista frames the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island in the distance.

The garden’s effect is luminous yet subdued: A potent reminder.

The Memorial is located at Vesey Street and North End Avenue.

Visit the Battery Park city Parks Conservancy web site for  a map and directions: www.bpcparks.org

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