As the tenth anniversary of the tragedy of September 11 arrives, a number of sites, many in Lower Manhattan, are open to visitors who wish to better understand the events of that day and their aftermath, and to honour those who lost their lives in the attacks.
Perhaps the most long-awaited of these
sites is the National September 11 Memorial, which will be dedicated on 11
September in a ceremony slated to be attended by President Barack Obama and
other officials. Starting 12 September, the memorial will be open to the
In the heart of the new World Trade Center
(WTC) site, with an entrance at the corner of Albany and Greenwich streets, the
9/11 Memorial consists of two pools
of water, almost one acre each, set within the original footprints of the World
Trade Center’s twin towers. Thirty foot-high waterfalls cascade down the pools’
sides and hundreds of swamp white oak trees surround the pools. Inscribed on
bronze panels around the waterfalls’ edges are the names of the 2,982 men,
women and children killed at the World
the Pentagon in Virginia and at the plane
crash near Shanksville, Pennsylvania,
on 11 September, 2001, as well as at the World Trade
Center on 26 February,
1993, when it was first attacked.
When a jury selected the memorial designs
of architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker in 2004, it
articulated the selection this way: “By allowing absence to speak for itself,
the designers have made the power of these empty footprints the memorial… The
surrounding plaza’s design has evolved to include beautiful groves of trees,
traditional affirmations of life and rebirth… They remember life with living
forms, and serve as living representations of the destruction and renewal of
life in their own annual cycles.”
Starting 12 September, 2011, the National
September 11 Memorial will be open to the public, day and night, by timed,
advance reservation only. The museum, whose entrance will be next to the memorial,
will open September 2012.
The memorial also has a preview site, at 20 Vesey
Street, with exhibits, including a Statue Of Liberty replica covered with
flags, mass cards and other tributes; a listening station where visitors can
hear people describe their 9/11 experiences; and a recording booth, where
visitors can record their own 9/11 stories.
Other 9/11-related places range from houses
of worship to gardens, parks and museums; many are holding special events on or
before 11 September to commemorate the tenth anniversary.
The Tribute WTC Visitor Center, a
project of the September 11th Families’ Association, is located at 120 Liberty Street,
across from the WTC site. Its exhibits look at the neighbourhood, describe the
attacks and the rescue and recovery process after 9/11, display photographs and
memorabilia of people who died in the attacks, and discuss worldwide volunteer
efforts since that time. The center also offers daily walking tours alongside
the WTC site.
The annual Tribute in Light, presented
by the Municipal Art Society, will start at dusk on 11 September and be on
display through dawn on 12 September. First presented on 11 March, 2002, and
shown annually on 11 September ever since, the tribute consists of 88
7,000-watt xenon light bulbs placed on a roof near the WTC site in two 48-foot
squares that echo the shape and orientation of the twin towers. Climbing four
miles high, the illuminated memorial is the strongest shaft of light ever
projected from Earth into the night sky; it is visible within a sixty-mile
radius on a clear night.
St Paul’s Chapel
opened in 1766 at Broadway and Fulton
Street (what is now across from the WTC), making
it the oldest public building in continuous use in Manhattan. On 9/11 it was protected from
falling debris by an uprooted sycamore tree and it housed volunteers for eight
months after the attacks. Today the chapel has an exhibit of artifacts, such as
photos, cards and banners from the relief effort. Its churchyard contains a
bronze Bell of Hope, presented by the mayor of London,
cast at the same foundry as the Liberty Bell and London’s Big Ben. The bell symbolizes the
empathy and solidarity of the people of London
with the people of New York.
On 11 September, 2011, the bell will be rung at 8:46 am, the time of the North Tower
attack, and again at 7:14 pm.
Patrick James Allen, the organist at Grace Church, located some 40 blocks
north of the WTC, on Broadway near East 10th Street, played Bach to comfort
people gathering in the church’s pews on 11September, 2001. This eventually led
to a “Bach at Noon” series, which continues to this day. On 11 September, 2011,
the church’s choirs will sing at 11 am, and at 4 pm they will perform Faure’s
Requiem, in remembrance of those killed by acts of terrorism.
Garden at Hanover Square , near the site, honours the 67 British subjects
who died in the WTC on 9/11, and celebrates the historic ties of friendship and
unity between the US and UK. There will be a memorial concert there at 1:30 pm
on 11 September, 2011.
“Double Check”, J Seward Johnson, Jr’s
bronze sculpture of a businessman checking his briefcase, was originally in Liberty Park, across the street from the WTC.
Covered with dust from the collapsed towers, it became a memorial after 9/11
where mourners and rescue workers left flowers, notes and candles. Eventually
repaired by Johnson, it sits today in its original location, at the
intersection of Liberty Street
and Trinity Place.
The park itself has been rebuilt and renamed Zuccotti Park,
after John Zuccotti, a former deputy mayor. “Koenig’s Sphere,” a large, metal
sculpture by German artist Fritz Koenig, was originally commissioned for a
fountain in the plaza between the twin towers. Damaged but still intact after
9/11, it was re-erected and rededicated in Battery Park, at Battery Place, on March 11, 2002, as a
memorial to victims of 9/11. And “Trinity Root”, a three-ton bronze sculpture
by Steve Tobin, was inspired by the sycamore tree that protected St Paul’s Chapel. It sits
in the courtyard of Trinity
Church, at Broadway and
After 9/11, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum,
located on the aircraft carrier Intrepid at 12th Avenue and 46th
Street, supported emergency responders
and served as a temporary headquarters for the New York office of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, which had been located in the WTC. The ship’s
9/11 memorial, a 12-foot-tall section of steel from the WTC — points skyward
and faces lower Manhattan.
for Downtown New York, which manages the neighbourhood’s business improvement
district, is providing updates on local 9/11 activities through Facebook,
Twitter, its website and a free
mobile app. The official New
York City visitors bureau also lists 9/11-related sites and events.