A monument dedicated to the many New Yorkers who have lost their lives to AIDS has been unveiled.

A small group gathered on Sunday, on the eve World Aids Day, at Pier 49 in Hudson River Park to dedicate the monument

A project of the AIDS Monument Committee, a volunteer non-profit entity, the monument took 14 years to come to fruition. It was funded by donations and then donated to the city.

“From 1985 to 2002, over 81,000 AIDS deaths were reported in New York City. Today, HIV continues to have an untold impact on more than 90,000 New Yorkers living with HIV, as well as their families, friends and caretakers,” said the committee on its website.

Located on the Hudson River Park at Bank Street, the memorial is a 42-foot long, 2-foot tall, 12-inch deep curved granite bench.

An inscription on the side facing the river says: I can sail without wind, I can row without oars, but I cannot part from my friend without tears.”

In a statement, New York Governor David Paterson, described the monument as “a testimonial to beloved fellow human beings who have battled AIDS.”

“It is an enduring reminder of all we have achieved, and have yet to achieve, as we work towards the goal of eradicating HIV/AIDS in our lifetimes.”

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