Drones Take to the Skies for Monumental Restoration Effort

A New Chapter Begins for the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument

This week marks a pivotal moment for the historic Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Riverside Park in City, as drones are set to soar above this cherished landmark. This initiative is the first step in a $62.3 million restoration project aimed at revitalizing the 122-year-old monument and its surrounding plaza. Authorized by the NYC Department, these drones will be capturing crucial data from March 5th through 8th, and again on the 12th, to aid in the meticulous planning of the monument's much-needed facelift.


A Long-awaited Restoration

The funding for this ambitious project was reportedly secured in the city's fiscal year 2024 budget, following a persistent campaign by supporters. Advocates, including elected officials and the Riverside Park Conservancy, have tirelessly lobbied for the restoration, highlighting the urgent need to preserve the monument's structural integrity and historical significance. City Council Member Gale Brewer has been particularly vocal, spearheading a petition in 2022 that garnered widespread support.

The use of drones, as announced via X (formerly Twitter) by Brewer, is intended to provide engineers with detailed visuals, including still images, audio, and video, to ensure a comprehensive assessment of the monument's condition. Though the permit spans five days, the actual drone operation is expected to be concise, focusing on the critical task of surveying damage and planning repairs.

Drones Take To The Skies For Monumental Restoration Effort

The Path to Preservation

The decision to utilize drones reflects a broader strategy to leverage modern technology in preserving our historical heritage. Sam Goldsmith, a spokesperson for Brewer, emphasized the importance of this detailed survey work in identifying the exact nature of the repairs needed. Meanwhile, NYC Parks press officer Kelsey Jean-Baptiste reassured that the extended permit duration accounts for potential weather-related delays.

This restoration project comes in response to a dire assessment made in 2017 by the Riverside Park Conservancy, which described the monument's condition as “near-catastrophic.” The upcoming work, spearheaded by Vertical Access, aims not only to restore the monument itself but also to stabilize the surrounding areas, ensuring the landmark's longevity for future generations.

A Monument's Legacy

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, unveiled in 1902, stands as a testament to the approximately 370,000 New Yorkers who fought for the Union during the Civil War. Its white marble structure, bearing the inscription “To the memory of the brave soldiers and sailors who saved the Union,” serves as a poignant reminder of their sacrifice. Despite undergoing significant renovations in 1962, the monument's designation as an NYC and state landmark underscores its historical and cultural importance.

Looking Forward

With the design phase projected to conclude by June 2025 and construction slated to begin in the summer of 2026, this restoration project marks a significant investment in preserving New York City's historical landmarks. The effort reflects a commitment to maintaining our cultural heritage, ensuring that the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument continues to stand as a symbol of bravery and unity for years to come.

Featured image courtesy of I Love The Upper West Side.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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