Reopening: The Irish Hunger Memorial

Before the Irish Hunger Memorial's official reopening at noon on Friday, Battery Park City Parks Director Bruno Pomponio and Horticulture Director Anne O'Neill were on hand for an inspection. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Closed since last August for waterproofing repairs, Battery Park City’s Irish Hunger Memorial officially reopened on Friday.

Gwen Dawson, the Battery Park City Authority’s vice president for real property, announced the scheduled reopening on July 24, calling the job a complicated one because the reproduced Irish landscape atop the structure had to be put back just as it was.  The stones, which come from 32 Irish counties, “had to be removed, taken down and catalogued, and soil was removed and in some cases brought back,” Dawson said, speaking at the authority’s community meeting. After the waterproofing was completed “all of those stones got put back in the right place.”  

“Our contractor has done a spectacular job,” she added.

For now, Dawson said, the memorial is getting a temporary planting. The permanent crop of vegetation will be put in during September. The original planting consisted of 90,000 plugs of native grasses and 52 different types of plants, according to Brian Tolle, the memorial’s designer.

The 15-year-old half-acre monument commemorates the Irish Great Famine, which began in 1845 and took the lives of an estimated one million people.