Wednesday, October 11: The long-awaited Triangle Fire Memorial, located at the site of the fire in Greenwich Village, New York, will be dedicated. The memorial is one of the very few in America that honors workers, most of whom were women and immigrants, and it is unique in that it tells their story in their own languages, English, Italian, and Yiddish.
The Triangle Fire Memorial tells the story of the fire in the languages spoken by the victims: English, Yiddish and Italian. It will also be one of the only memorials in America dedicated to workers.
“This beautiful memorial will help us remember the workers who lost their lives because of employers’ greed, shining a light on this dark history and reminding us of the need for collective action,” said Mary Anne Trasciatti, President of the Triangle Fire Coalition. “Outrage in the aftermath of the tragedy changed labor and fire safety laws and these changes continue to protect us more than 100 years later. We are honored to partner with New York University and to have gotten so much support from the labor movement and others in the community for this project.” Please save the date and join us as we gather for this historic occasion!
In February, 2013, the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, held an 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. In 2015 the State of New York has granted 1.5 million dollars for the construction of the memorial. In January 2019, New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously approved the design. In 2021, New York’s Public Design Commission has approved and commended the memorial. Completion is expected in 2023.
Architect of record and project management: Charles Lauster Architect P.C
Fabrication and installation: KC Fabrications
Owner’s representative: Gina Pollara
The Triangle Fire was one of the worst workplace tragedies in American history. But it also proved to be a critical event in winning decent conditions and basic human rights for working people throughout America. Located on the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors of a factory building which still stands just east of Washington Square Park, the Triangle Waist Company employed over five hundred individuals. They worked under abusive conditions, nine-to-sixteen hours a day, six days a week, making women’s blouses known as “shirtwaists.” When a fire broke out at the factory on March 25, 1911, many of them were trapped. Some died when a fire escape collapsed, plunging them onto an iron fence. Others died piled up behind a critical exit door—a door that was locked because their bosses wanted to prevent them from taking even a few pennies’ worth of scrap fabric. They died in front of hundreds of their fellow New Yorkers, who could only watch in horror. 146 people died in the space of fifteen minutes — almost all of them young women and girls, immigrants and the daughters of immigrants.
They did not die in vain.
The Triangle Fire became a rallying cry for social justice that resounds throughout the world to this day. It inspired improvements in working conditions that have saved untold numbers of lives and helped transform a nation.
The Triangle Fire Memorial will be dedicated on Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at 11:30am located at 23 Washington Place, NYC – now part of the NYU campus.
Take a look back at Performance Artist, LuLu LoLo in her one-act play ‘Soliloquy for a Seamstress: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factor Fire.”