The wait is finally coming to an end.
On Tuesday, August 29, at Brooklyn Borough Hall, Borough President Eric Adams held a ceremony that cemented a formal agreement that will bring the long awaited Friendship Archway in Sunset Park, making it the first of its kind in New York City.
The archway is slated to be installed across Eighth Avenue between 60th and 61st Streets, in the neighborhood’s Chinatown.
During the ceremony, Adams was joined by former Borough President Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough Commissioner of the Department of Transportation (DOT) Keith Bray, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in New York Qiang Wang, Sino American New York Brooklyn Archway Association Corp. President Winnie Greco and others.
“This is not merely a statue or monument. It is a coming of age for the Chinese community,” Adams said. “It is a symbol of strength and respect for your community.” At times, he added, the process was “extremely challenging. There were days we were frustrated. There were days we wanted to give up.”
The archway will be 40 feet tall and 12 feet wide, and the name of NYPD officer Wenjian Liu, who was killed in the line of duty in 2014, will be inscribed upon it.
“We will always remember Officer Liu and his family for their commitment and dedication to this city,” added Adams. “No one will visit Sunset Park without seeing his name and no one will visit the city without understanding how proud we are to be proud of your community.”
Liu’s widow, Pei Xia Chen, was at the ceremony, with their daughter Angelina
“Having my husband’s name displayed on this archway will make the Liu family very proud of the sacrifice their son, my husband, made in keeping the city of New York safe,” she said. “Anytime my daughter and I pass it, I’ll remind her of how this is dedicated. She will know and understand the honor that has been bestowed upon her father.”
The arch, speakers said, is an important symbol of diversity.
“All of us who celebrate diversity in Brooklyn and in New York City and in our United States of America as opposed to the current occupant that sits in the White House believe in the diversity of America,” noted Markowitz. “We are fortunate to have a mayor in Bill de Blasio who also understood the importance of this archway and providing the kind of cultural celebration that the Chinese-American community deserves.”
Assemblymember Felix Ortiz agreed, telling this paper that the archway, “Represents that Sunset Park has become the second largest Chinese community outside of Chinatown. I believe this community deserves the respect. They are hardworking immigrants that come to this country like any other immigrant looking for a dream and the opportunity and democracy we provide.”
The idea of the archway dates back to the late ‘90s, he added. “Borough President Marty Markowitz and I, at that point, joined forces with the people of the Asian community not just in Sunset Park, but throughout the city in order to begin to have a conversation about this,” he said. “It is just amazing that it took that long to see the light at the end of the tunnel but I’m very pleased and proud.”
Although there is no set date for when construction will begin, Adams stressed the significance the future landmark will have.
“This archway will be the gateway for all who visit New York City, a symbol of your strength,” he said. “When you build a monument of this magnitude, you will leave a symbol for generations to come. This is a very important moment for America, for Brooklyn and for the Chinese community.”