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A dangerous, contagious virus, once a small rumor talked about among friends on a night out, now caused the deaths of thousands around the world. The coronavirus took the USA by surprise as the number of cases doubled, tripled, and quadrupled each and every day. It was evident that once the virus hit New York, it would spread like wildfire as the state is home to one of the most populated cities in the world. The COVID-19 Memorial located in Little Bay Park in Whitestone, Queens is not only meant for us to remember the lives lost and affected, but to also see ourselves in them, being a constant reminder to us of the severity of the virus.
As visitors take a walk, jog, or even a bike ride along the scenic path overlooking the waterfront and the Throgs Neck bridge, they are greeted with a simple yet eye-catching structure almost appearing to be out of place on the green field it sits on, although still managing to complement the scenic atmosphere. Approaching the newfound mystery, visitors are greeted with two steps that elevate them onto a cool-toned brick platform that holds home to ten marble half walls. Each pair of walls are designed to represent one of the five boroughs of New York; from Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. The impact of every life lost in New York City due to the virus is deeply felt as visitors are able to read the names of the victims off the wall representing the borough the victim resided in. As guests continue to maneuver the memorial, it is quickly evident that not all the names on the walls are able to be clearly seen. Instead, the reflective wall allows them to see themselves, to help visitors understand that it could easily be anyone’s name on these walls, and that the virus discriminates against no one. One is quickly able to realize that our fight against COVID is not over and that we must continue to protect ourselves as well as those around us until it is no more. As visitors get ready to leave the structure, more names seem to appear on the same wall that they were once able to see their reflection in. It is then noticed that the sun, as it makes it way across the sky, plays a large role in interacting with the memorial. Depending on where the sun is in the sky, certain names on the half walls will be illuminated. As the sun rises in the east, all the names to the left of the pair is illuminated, and as the sun sets in west, all the names to the right of the pair is illuminated; but at night, floor lamps are lit to illuminate the names throughout the night, symbolizing that although their time on earth was cut short, their lives will continue to live on through the memories of their loved ones.
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