Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Funky Memorials in NYC

As works of art, memorials are usually very staid, conservative things. Since they are public exhibits and meant to remember the dead, obviously they need to be as tasteful as possible and offend no one. Thus most memorials, on strictly aesthetic grounds, are usually less than stunning l'objects art -- that is, of course, unless they are designed by someone like Maya Lin (who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in DC and the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial in Atlanta).

New York City doesn't have a lot of memorials of note with the clear exception of the Soldier and Sailors Monument on 89th Street and Riverside Drive (I guess Grant's Tomb counts as a memorial, sort of). There's also the World War I memorial in Astoria Park and, of course, the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero is built slowly, slowly.

However, some regular people have taken it upon themselves to create their own memorials in NYC. In Bayridge, Brooklyn, there is a rather incredible memorial to 9/11 of Jesus cradling the Twin Towers. While one might question its artistic merit, there is no denying its sincerity.And if you look around town, on the streets, you might come across some bicycles spray painted in white. These are called Ghost Bikes and the are meant to remember cyclists and pedestrians who have been killed on the streets.

While some might consider these exotic types of memorials strange, in the end, aren't we kind of glad they're there? After all, who says you have to be boring when remembering the dead?

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