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My cousin explains to me: “with shortened staff and equipment, floors were overwhelmed with an obscene amount of critical patients during the stages where it was still unclear how to treat the new virus, and how to care for those that were dying. It took everything in us to make sure that our patients were receiving the best care possible, with all we knew about the virus at the time. We had patients with an 85% intubation rate, when we were initially trained to care for 1-3 patients, at most, in the Intensive Care Unit. It was intense, and though I was risking a lot, I felt that my community needed me, and I protected myself, and my baby as best as I could.”
At the start of the rapidly growing Covid 19 pandemic, my cousin, 6 months pregnant, was faced with the reality of bearing the deadly disease in her career as a nurse. Uncertainty about the future, and fear for herself and her unborn child constantly ran through her mind as she accepted the commitment that she first made to her career: helping keep her community safe.
My cousin, along with many other healthcare professionals and frontline workers are the backbone for our recovery during these unfortunate times. Therefore, the memorial “Leaning” is established to acknowledge and honor the dedication of healthcare professionals, the heroes who risked everything to care for their patients, and those who have passed away from the deadly disease.
“Leaning” reflects a sense of serenity and peace, contrary to the hectic scene in hospitals, as you move through it. It also reflects the journey of Covid 19. A striking series of leaning slabs serve as a constant motif, both on the base and throughout the park. Initially, they are seen on the brink of tipping over, however with the help of each other, they stand in order to keep the park a float. This is symbolic of the dedication and support from our healthcare workers, through a time of uncertainty and struggle, as they lean on each other as a united body to keep each other stable. As you walk along the pier leading you into the park, a narrow passageway displaying a map, portraying the intensity of the disease, and right across a mural portraying a nurse battling the disease. As you move up into the park, lawns, gentle slopes, and pathways leading to breathtaking views of Manhattan, where her hospital is located, and also the Hudson River
Piercing through the base of the park, much like the Coronavirus piercing through our lives, will be more of the concrete slabs, with names of healthcare professionals and those who have passed away from the disease. Surrounded by cherry blossoms, a symbol of renewal, in the center of the park will be a larger memorial display of these leaning tablets embedded with screens playing videos thanking healthcare workers, artwork, and names of those who have passed away carved into the concrete slabs.
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