Commissioned by the American Merchant Mariners’ Memorial, Inc., this memorial was conceived in 1976. In 1988, after an extensive competition, the artist Marisol Escobar (b. 1930), known as Marisol, was chosen to develop her design. Situated off-shore from the north end of Battery Park and just south of Pier A, the monument stands on a rebuilt stone breakwater in the harbor. The bronze figural group and boat are based on an actual historical event; during World War II, a Nazi U-boat attacked a merchant marine vessel, and while the marines clung to their sinking vessel, the Germans photographed their victims. Marisol developed a series of studio sketches from this photograph, then fashioned a clay maquette as her winning design proposal for the monument. The work was dedicated on October 8, 1991.
In the background Pier A is visible. It is the last surviving historic pier in the city. A restoration of the pier finally commenced in 2009. Several restaurants are planned for the revamped space, expected to reopen in mid-2014.