NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz, and The Battery Conservancy President Warrie Price today celebrated the rededication of the Coast Guard Memorial in its new landscaped setting at The Battery. They were joined by Congressman Jerrold Nadler, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, NYC Department of Veterans’ Services Commissioner James Hendon, and members of the community.
“The Coast Guard Memorial has held local and national significance since it was first unveiled over half a century ago, and we are happy to rededicate this pioneering sculpture in its new landscaped setting at The Battery,” said Commissioner Fialkoff. “We thank the U.S. Coast Guard and The Battery Conservancy for their partnership in helping us honor this important branch of the U.S. military for their selfless service through this artwork.”
During his remarks, Commandant Admiral Schultz thanked the City of New York for returning the sculpture to the renewed Battery as the location enables “millions who visit to learn a little Coast Guard history … and be moved to pay tribute to three service members, representing all service members, who served our Nation during World War II.”
“These valiant soldiers depicted in the Coast Guard Memorial will greet our global visitors with courageous determination as they enter the park’s newly rebuilt east portal,” said Warrie Price, President of The Battery Conservancy.
Parks has installed the monument at the newly created Coast Guard Memorial Plaza, which features a paved pathway with new benches and native plantings framing the artwork. The bronze sculpture appears to be the first national war memorial depicting an interracial group in which the figures are of equal stature. It was created by painter and combat veteran Norman Millet Thomas and dedicated in 1955 to honor the Coast Guard members who served during World War II.
The sculpture was placed in storage in 2004 to accommodate the redesign of The Battery and construction of the South Ferry subway station. The plaza construction was funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the amount of $770,000. The Battery Conservancy will maintain the new green space, and Parks’ monuments crew will care for the monument as part of its citywide program.
“The history of New York began at The Battery,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “New York City became the largest City in America because of its Port. It is most fitting that today overlooking our beautiful harbor that the Coast Guard still protects today, that we rededicate the Coast Guard Memorial honoring those soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country's freedom during World War II.”
“The new Coast Guard Memorial Plaza is a fitting tribute to the heroic sacrifice of the 1,917 Coast Guard members killed in World War II and the many others who fought to protect our freedom,” said DVS Commissioner James Hendon. “For generations to come, people from around the world will be able to rest in the shadows of this iconic sculpture and reflect on the pivotal role that the Coast Guard played in helping to win the war.”
Schultz noted that “future on-lookers” of the memorial “will then look-out towards the water, and see Coast Guard personnel carrying on the tradition, right here in New York Harbor.”
About NYC Parks’ Citywide Monuments Conservation Program
A public-private partnership founded in 1997, CMCP is a conservation program dedicated to preserving NYC Parks’ rich sculptural legacy and cultural heritage. CMCP has won the Mayor’s Special Recognition Art Commission Award, a prestigious Lucy Moses Award from the New York Landmarks Conservancy and was the recipient of the first place award from the national Save Outdoor Sculpture/Heritage Preservation Program.
About the U.S. Coast Guard
As a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, a law enforcement organization, a regulatory agency, a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, and a first responder, the Coast Guard employs a unique mix of authorities, broad jurisdiction, flexible operational capabilities, and a network of partnerships. The Coast Guard is the principal Federal agency responsible for maritime safety, security, and environmental stewardship in U.S. ports and inland waterways, along more than 95,000 miles of U.S. coastline, throughout the 4.5 million square miles of U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and on the high seas.
About The Battery Conservancy
The Battery Conservancy was founded to revitalize New York’s birthplace park and its major landmark, Castle Clinton National Monument. The Conservancy designs, builds, maintains, and activates the historic Battery’s 25-acres of public parkland at the southern tip of Manhattan. In partnership with the City of New York’s Department of Parks and Recreation and the National Park Service, the Conservancy brings inspired vision and targeted resources to the park.