COVID-19, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Michael Gordon, composer, songs, music, community, Cherry Esplanade
Photo: Michael Stewart

Brooklyn Botanic Garden is using Cherry Esplanade as a memorial to honor the 23,000 victims lost to COVID-19 in New York City.

Serving as a backdrop for visitors to reflect, an audio recording of the song loved. by composer Michael Gordon and percussionist David Cossin will be played at the site.

The song loved. features seven vibraphones and runs for five minutes, and is a meditation on the many lives lost during the coronavirus pandemic. The tribute is being held as the garden initiates its reopening.

Photo: Bianca Begert

Over the past few months, many New Yorkers have struggled with isolation, and while many public areas are reopening, the feeling of what was lost still lingers.

“Over the last several months, New Yorkers have experienced a lot of loss in isolation,” Brooklyn Botanic Garden Interim Co-Director & CFO Dorora Rashid said.

“As the garden reopens, we wanted to welcome our community back and provide a source of reflection, something we could listen to together,”

While composing the piece, Michael Gordon said he wanted to ensure the music reflected the mood of mourning, but also thoughtfulness.

Photo: Peter Serling

“I felt that I had this responsibility to mark the terrible loss the city went through. It’s intense to enhance what we went through,” Gordon said.

“It started with the sound of bells and I wanted it to have a ringing sound. You know, almost like listening, and I also wanted space and silence. I wanted there to be pauses where people could be thoughtful and meditate.”

With this new piece playing, the hope is that it will provide peace, reflection and healing for those who listen.

The song will play daily at 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. through Sept. 7, 2020. Brooklyn Botanic Garden admission fees will be waived for the next few weeks.


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Yannise Jean

Yannise Jean is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in publications like Okayplayer and Well + Good. Follow her on Twitter @yjeanwrites.

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