FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 05, 2021
NYC PARKS AND QUEEN SOFÍA SPANISH INSTITUTE UNVEIL NEW SPANISH MEMORIAL PLAQUE IN FORT GREENE PARK
NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff today unveiled the new Spanish Memorial Plaque in Fort Greene Park, joined by Cónsul General of Spain Caridad Batalla; Queen Sofía Spanish Institute Executive Director Patrice E. Degnan; Queen Sofía Spanish Institute Board of Directors President David Askren; Daughters of the American Revolution Manhattan Chapter Vice-Regent Linda Rhodes Jones; Avangrid (Iberdrola Group) Senior Vice President - Chief of Staff Manuel González Igual; Denise Felipe-Adams, Special Assistant to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams; New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo; NYC Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Martin Maher, and community members.
“We are proud to unveil the new Spanish Memorial Plaque and honor the Spanish contributions to American freedom during the Revolutionary War,” said Commissioner Fialkoff. “Thanks to the support of Iberdrola and the advocacy of our partners, the replacement monument will convey the original plaque’s message with a more durable design that complements Fort Greene Park’s historic landscape.”
Parks created a replacement Spanish Memorial Plaque that honors the original while integrating with Fort Greene Park’s landscape. The new bronze tablet, funded by Spanish electrical company Iberdrola, is set into a natural stone boulder at the eastern side of the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument plaza.
The original plaque was presented by King Juan Carlos of Spain and dedicated in 1976 to honor the country’s bicentennial and “the memory of those valiant sons of Spain who fought, suffered and died for the cause of American independence between 1779-1783.” The plaque was later removed from its horizontal granite plinth because of its compromised condition and is now on view in the park’s visitor center.
David Askren, President and CEO of the Board of Directors of the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute, said he is “proud to help raise awareness in the U.S. about the legacy and sacrifices of Hispanics who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose names cannot be forgotten.”
“As we mark Hispanic Heritage Month, we must pay tribute to the myriad contributions of our Hispanic community dating back to our nation’s founding. 126 people of Hispanic descent died during the Battle of Brooklyn in the Revolutionary War, helping pave the way for our nation’s independence. I was proud to support this plaque in Fort Greene Park honoring them,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“Place and period markers are so important. Without them the stories of those who came before us, making Freedom possible for all of us, would never be told. It is my pleasure to support these organizations, and my distinct honor to remember the Spanish who gave their lives in the American Revolution. To do so during Hispanic heritage month brings everything full circle to me. Today’s unveiling is one of the many reasons I am so proud to call Brooklyn home,” said NYC Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo.
“On behalf of Iberdrola and Avangrid, we are proud to help restore this Memorial Plaque, honoring the lives of Spanish soldiers who fought and died for the cause of American Independence and recognizing the common ties that have joined the United States and Spain over the centuries,” said Manuel González Igual, Senior Vice President of Avangrid.
“The Conservancy believes we are stronger as a community and nation when we recognize the diversity of contributions to our democracy. We are grateful that the plaque honoring the brave Spanish soldiers will be in the park again for all users to appreciate,” said Rosamond Fletcher, Executive Director of the Fort Greene Park Conservancy.
Fort Greene Park is a landmark, cherished for its history, rolling landscape, trees, and monuments. It is home to the Prison Ships Martyrs Monument, which commemorates the 11,500 men and women, known as the prison ship martyrs, who were buried in a tomb near the Brooklyn Navy Yard during the Revolutionary War.
About NYC Parks’ Citywide Monuments Conservation Program
A public-private partnership founded in 1997, CMCP is a conservation program dedicated to preserving NYC Parks’ rich sculptural legacy and cultural heritage. CMCP has won the Mayor’s Special Recognition Art Commission Award, a prestigious Lucy Moses Award from the New York Landmarks Conservancy and was the recipient of the first place award from the national Save Outdoor Sculpture/Heritage Preservation Program.