The Green-Wood Cemetery + City Lore to Unveil ‘Naming The Lost’ Memorial in May




photo credit: CityLore

Four years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, nearly 1.2 million people across the country—including an estimated 83,000 in New York City—have lost their lives to the virus. Countless others continue to suffer from Long COVID. The mounting toll of death and diminished health has inflicted immeasurable pain but also brought communities together to provide support and comfort to those suffering the reverberating effects of the virus.

In memory of those impacted by the pandemic, NAMING THE LOST Memorials (NTLM), City Lore,Great Small Works, Mano a Mano, and The Green-Wood Cemetery are collaborating on a new memorialA Big Slow, Majestic Covid Memorial. On view from Friday, May 3rd through Friday, June 3rd, it will consist of tributes made by 22 community groups from across New York City.

On Sunday, May 19th there will be a dedication & activation ceremony at Greenwood Historic Chapel from 4:00 ~ 6:00pm.

The activation ceremony will be livestreamed on City Lore’s YouTube channel:

Photo credit: Erik McGregor

A Big, Slow, Majestic Covid Memorial will hold a prominent place along Green-Wood’s historic wrought-iron fence, near the Main Entrance at Fifth Avenue at 25th Street. Packed tightly from top to bottom on the fence, it will stretch horizontally for 200 feet. During this time, the public is encouraged to create and add their own nameplates to the memorial. There will be a dedicated space on the memorial for public participation.

Contributors to the memorial, including community partners, artists, and activists, will come together at Green-Wood on Sunday, May 19th from 4:00–5:00pm for a dedication and activation ceremony at the Historic Chapel. The ceremony will bring together the NTLM team and community partners for an evening that will include a procession, second line, traditional singers, and a participatory ritual of remembrance. All are welcome to participate to commemorate those who died of COVID-19 and remember them together.

Photo credit: Erik McGregor

The theme of this year’s memorial comes, with permission, from disability justice writer Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, who wrote in The Future is Disabled, “Everyone is holding so much grief right now, and it’s so hard, but it’s kind of created this bigger, slower, majestic space to be real with what’s going on and organize from that space.”

“NAMING THE LOST Memorials aims to create an annual, tangible wall of memory that does not allow the lives and souls of the many thousands of victims of the COVID-19 pandemic to escape our thoughts—thoughts which are needed to remember, grasp our losses, and find ways to create healthier and more compassionate communities,” said Steve Zeitlin, Co-Director, City Lore.

“Green-Wood is proud to partner with NAMING THE LOST Memorials, City Lore, and all of our community partners to present this poignant memorial. We must always remember those whose lives have been forever changed by this pandemic, whether through the loss of loved ones or the ongoing healthcare needs of those who continue to suffer,” said Richard J. Moylan, President of Green-Wood.

To create this memorial, NAMING THE LOST Memorials has collaborated with 22 community groups from across the city whose constituents have suffered significant losses from COVID-19.  The planning team includes: Juan Aguirre, director of Mano a Mano; Sandra A. M. Bell, artist and producer; Elena Martínez, folklorist and producer; Megan Paradis Hanley, theater artist and educator; Jenny Romaine, artist, organizer, and educator; and, Steve Zeitlin, City Lore co-director.

Community partners are: Bronx Documentary Center, Casa Yurumein, University Heights High School, Vishnu Mandir Hindu Temple, and BAAD/Health & Hip Hop, Inc. (all of the Bronx); Come Forever Mutual Aid & Health Resources Center, Guyana Cultural Association, Parent Child Relationship Association, Project Reach Youth, Purelements Evolution in Dance, The Bklyn Combine, West Indian American Day Carnival Association, and Women’s Empowerment Coalition of New York (all of Brooklyn); Yaffa Cultural Arts (Manhattan); Bangladesh Institute of Performing Arts, Jews of Jackson Heights, and Epicenter NYC (all of Queens); La Colmena (Staten Island); and Archive Based Creative Arts, Health Care Workshop, Long Covid Justice, and New Moon Sisters (all citywide organizations).

NAMING THE LOST Memorials and City Lore will continue to help communities create COVID-19 memorials through 2025. As part of The Monuments Project, its nationwide initiative to rethink the meaning and creation of monuments, the Mellon Foundation provided a major grant to support this work. Selected artifacts of these ephemeral memorials will be archived at the New-York Historical Society for future exhibitions and research into the impact of the pandemic. Documentation of the memorials also will become part of an updated, interactive NAMING THE LOST Memorials website ( where key elements will be translated into some of the many languages spoken by New Yorkers.

Green-Wood Cemetery. Image via Wikipedia

A Big Slow, Majestic Covid Memoria lwill be on view from Friday, May 3rd through Friday, June 3rd, it will consist of tributes made by 22 community groups from across New York City.

Contributors to the memorial, including community partners, artists, and activists, will join at Green-Wood on Thursday, May 19th from 4:00-6:00pm for a dedication and activation ceremony. The free event begins with opportunities to create a tribute to put on the memorial or write a poem followed by a procession from the Main Entrance to the Historic Chapel.

Procession program opens with Ricky Gordon’s Brass & Woodwind Band.

The Individuals of Peace

Dirty Red (Snare Drum)
Roger Garcia (Trumpet)
Rashaan Salaam (Trombone)
Steve Duffy (Sousaphone)
Cleave Guyton, Jr. (Piccolo/Alto Sax)

Isaiah Richardson, Jr. (Clarinet/Tenor Sax)

Vince Hunter (Bass Drum)

Libation/Remembering the Ancestors by Makini

Lebanese music and dance with Ramzi Edlibi and Zafer Tawil.

Saetas from Spain by Alfonso Cid

Dance of the Butterflies by Mazarte

Registration – which is optional- to attend the ceremony for free. The activation ceremony will be livestreamed on City Lore’s YouTube channel:

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