On Wednesday, October 11, the long-awaited public memorial to the victims and legacy of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire will be dedicated at the site of the historic fire in New York City. The Triangle Fire Memorial will be a permanent element on the very building that housed the Triangle Factory, at the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place in Greenwich Village.
The Memorial will be visible to the public for the first time on Wednesday. Visitors will be presented with a textured, stainless steel “ribbon” twelve feet above the sidewalk, on the building’s southern and eastern facades. The names and ages of the 146 victims are cut into this ribbon and mirrored in a dark reflective panel at hip height. As visitors traverse the length of the memorial, the names of the victims overhead appear in the reflective panel, as if written in the sky. Testimonies of survivors and eyewitnesses to the fire are etched as a single line of text along the lower edge of the reflective panel, inviting the visitor to look down into the reflection and discover the names of the victims and their stories.
A second phase of the installation, expected to be completed this winter, will expand the steel “ribbon” to the window sill of the 9th floor, where many victims jumped to their deaths. The ribbon will project from the corner of the building, recalling the signs that once hung there as well as mourning ribbons or bunting that are draped on buildings at times of public grief.
What: Dedication of the Triangle Fire Memorial. This tragic event took the lives of 146 mostly young, immigrant women workers in 1911. Outrage over the incident was the impetus for changes in labor and fire safety laws that continue to protect us today. The Triangle Fire Memorial tells the story of the fire in the languages spoken by the victims: English, Yiddish and Italian, and is one of the only memorials in the United States dedicated to workers.
When: Wednesday, October 11, 11:30am
Where: At the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street in Greenwich Village, NYU’s Brown Building (formerly known as the Asch Building)
Who: Speakers will include Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, NYS Commissioner of Labor Roberta Reardon, NYC Council Member Gale Brewer; representatives of the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, Workers United/SEIU (ILGWU), the New York City Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, family members of the Triangle Fire Victims, New York University, American Society of Safety Professionals, and FDNY. Musical performances including the New York City Labor Chorus, Jameel McKanstry, and Lori Goldston.
Background: In 2013, the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition launched a 2-phase, international competition to design a permanent memorial for the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire on the site of the tragedy in New York. The winning proposal, by Uri Wegman and Richard Joon Yoo, was selected by the jury from nearly 180 submissions from around the world. The memorial has been made possible with a generous grant of $1.5 million from the State of New York, and by funding from foundations, labor unions, and thousands of other supporters. In addition, New York University, the current owner of the building, has been a longstanding and valued partner in this successful effort.
Additional event info: The ceremony is disability positive and will be ASL (American Sign Language) interpreted. The dedication ceremony will also be livestreamed here for those who cannot attend in person.