Ground Zero - World Trade Center, New York City
On the former location of the Twin Towers, destroyed by the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, a new skyscraper - the One World Tower - two memorial pools and a museum dedicated to the over 3.000 victims of the attack, can be found.
The One World Tower was built between 2006-2014, with 104 levels, and with 417 metres the highest building in the western hemisphere (the fifth tallest in the world). Adding the spire, the height of the tower is even 541 metres. The tower, roughly resembling an octagon, has a new viewing platform open to the public.
The 9/11 memorials are two large pools with waterfalls; the water is drained through a hole in the ground, symbolizing the loss of life. On the parapets of the pools, the names of the victims are engraved.
The 9/11-museum was opened in May 2014 and contains artifacts and oral histories of the victims, as a memorial to their individual lives. A visit is a moving experience, I can testify.
NOTE: the tiles had to be removed to make way for new construction, and a collection of them are now on display in the lobby of the Jefferson Market Library, near their original site.
In the dark days after 9/11, the owner of a ceramics shop, located just blocks from the WTC site, crafted 5000 clay angels and hung them from a chain link fence - where they were quietly removed by friends and family of the many victims. Her efforts proved inspirational to other "Paint your own" pottery businesses across the country and they created a fundraising program as a way for people everywhere to express their grief and support. Church and school groups, families, civic organizations, children and adults took up the cause and soon thousands of painted tiles were flooding in from every part of the United States.
Tiles for America memorials was originally on a fence at the intersection of 7th Ave S., 11th street and Greenwich, near St. Vincent's Hospital (where my pix were taken).
Incredibly moving - bring Kleenex.
For those who have a special interest in the World Trade Center attacks, this can be an emotional place. For me, it's a nice park that will someday be accessible to the entire city. Because of the lack of access, the city has many security controls to insure that we are safe when visiting. It just takes a while to get in. Even though it's free.
Ground Zero is now a memorial for those who lost their lives during the tragedy that was 9/11. Now it has 2 large fountains engraved with the names of those who lost their lives and the surrounding area is a park where you can sit and realise just how incredibly big the area actually is. Walking around, the area has a peaceful tranquility which is rare in NYC where you hear car sirens and general noise non stop. People walking around are respectful of those around you and it really brings to light the sheer number of people who actually lost their lives and the number of people who were left mourning someone. Fire crews who lost comrades, colleagues who worked in the towers themselves and other rescue people....
Those who had once seen the World Trade Center (and many that didn't), can't go to New York City today, without passing by the place, to see what is being done.
Cured the traumas, the American are working hard (as usual) and the curiosity about what will come is too strong.
However... it will take time.
After the disaster of September 11th 2001 the city of New York decided the best response to losing the World Trade Center was to rebuild it. Instead of simply replacing the twin towers they decided to rebuild the entire complex, made up of six towers (replacing some of the seven buildings lost or damaged in the attacks) a major transportation hub, a memorial and a museum.
The centre-piece of the complex is One World Trade Center. This building, once dubbed "the Freedom Tower", is by far the tallest of the seven. It's height is 1,776 feet (546 meters), matching the year of American independence. It's now the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, beating out anything except for the Burj Dubai and the new Makkah tower in Saudi Arabia.
Some towers are already finished, including One World Trade Center, but the work will continue for years yet on the entire project.
"Here come the planes.
They're American planes. Made in America.
Smoking or non-smoking?"
O Superman - Laurie Anderson
One World Trade Center (aka Freedom Tower), is visible from all over New York City. The steel and glass skyscraper has the symbolic height of 1776 feet, and is one of seven buildings replacing the original complex which was largely destroyed in by the terrorist attacks of September 2001.
Around the site, the new glass towers are rising ever higher, and the steel bones of the Santiago Calatrava designed transportation hub are visible through the wire fences.
We find the memorial entrance, and enter the memorial site via the rather desultory entry pass and security check.
The memorial consists of 2 pools into which water falls continuously, surrounded by a wide plaza which is populated by many swamp oaks. The walls of the pools are in large black granite blocks, and they occupy the footprints of the towers that once stood there. Around each pool, inscribed in laser cut brass, are the names of the 2753 victims of the destruction of the buildings. Between the two pools, and still under construction, stands a museum, which for us will have to wait for another day, though through its glass walls we can see the tridents of rusted steel which once made up the facade of the vanished towers. Around each of the pools, people stand in the waning sunlight, as cool breezes waft mists of water from the deep pits into which the waterfalls flow. Thinking and reflection. Ani Di Franco wrote about that day, and I can hear the words of her stream of consciousness rap 'Self Evident' as I stare at the flowing waters and feel the weight of the tragedy that so many saw live on TV.
The 9/11 Memorial opened on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks. It consists of two pools where the towers stood. The 9/11 attacks killed 2,977 people from over 90 nations. The oldest was 85 and youngest 2; 441 first responders were killed at the site. Had the attacks occurred during business hours 35,000 people from 430 companies along with commuters and tourists could have been jeopardized.
Thirty-five foot waterfalls cascade into the pools each descending into a void. The names of the victims are inscribed in bronze around the pools. The North pool contains 1470 names of people that perished in the North tower and 87 victim names from flight 11 which struck. The South tower contains the names of 695 people from the South Tower, as well as the first responders, Pentagon victims and those that died in flights 91, 77 and 175. Michael Arad was the designer.
Our photo's are from April, 2013. Upon exiting there is a large and reasonably priced gift shop with shirts, memorabilia, key chains, books, videos ...
Out of extreme pain and hurt a new Symbol of NYC and the United States is rising .... One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan ..... it's up to 102 floors right now .... it's set to have 110 floors so it's almost done ..... the Glass facade is up to the 75th floor ...... 1,000's of people are on the job site 24 hours a day. Once open NYC will again have the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere .....
This building represents the power of the people of NYC and the power of people of The United States ... we were dropped to our knees but we as a country we got up and showed the world why we are the Land of the Free and Home of the BRAVE !!!!!!!!!!
This is the visit I most wanted to make during my recent trip to New York. I have made several trips to NY since the events of 9/11 - the first on 9/27/11 for the birth of my youngest niece. But on each of those visits, I could not bring myself to visit the site of the Twin Towers. Even now, I am overwhelmed by the loss, and the heroism, and the senselessness, and the courage shown on that day. I didn't want to see a "scar", or a void. I wasn't ready yet.
I'm glad I waited for this memorial. It is exquisitely well done - the reflecting ponds on the footprint of each tower, bordered with the names of those who were lost that day in the Towers, at the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania. It is peaceful now, and you know you are walking on hallowed ground. The running water in the pool made a rainbow, and there was a sense of healing.
It's very hard to explain the emotions associated with the site, but I highly recommend a visit. You must have a timed admission ticket - they are available for free at the website below. Arrive ~15 minutes early, as you must go thru airport-like security to get in. Once inside, you may stay as long as you like. There are kiosks which can tell you how to locate a certain name.
One of the most sombering experiences in New York is visiting Gorund Zero. They are currently builidng a new skyscraper on the site of the old World Trade Center as a tribute. Be very respectfulwhen visiting the site as it is not a tourist location but a commemarative site so remeber that at all times but it is a great way to show respect forthose thta lsot their live on 9/11
The Tribute WTC 9/11 Gallery offers walking tours around the perimeter of the WTC construction site. While they don't go anywhere that you couldn't walk on your own, what you do get is a tour guide who has a personal connection to the events of 9/11 and a story to tell. They can also point things out, which is useful as the WTC site is essentially just a big hole in the ground with lots of construction equipment around it.
It's kind of hard to hear them because it's an working construction site, but, once you get indoors, you can relax and listen to their stories.
Is it worth the $10? I would say maybe, maybe not. I found the galleries themselves to be much more powerful. My other gripe with the tour was that it was too long; they say allot 75 minutes, but ours took over an hour and a half - which is a long time to look at a construction site.
But, do as you will... you will definitely learn something about 9/11 that you didn't know, and, at the very least, you should definitely check out the galleries and St. Paul's Cathedral. The Walking Tour costs $10 and lets you in the galleries, and the galleries alone is a suggested $10 admission, so it's not really a question of money. If you've got lots of time, I'd say do it.
The galleries of the Tribute WTC museum are where you really feel the impact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The most touching are, of course, the walls of photos of the victims. You are immediately struck by how young most of them were. The wall of missing persons flyers is equally heartbreaking. Also on display is a timeline of the events of 9/11, and many photos showing the acts of heroism from local fire and police departments, the local civilians, and the outpouring of grief and courage from around the world.
Personally, I think that the galleries are much more powerful than the big hole in the ground where the buildings used to stand. While the construction site may not, in itself, be particularly interesting or inspiring, the combination of the site, the galleries, and St. Paul's make a powerful afternoon of reflection and remembrance.
Oh, and it's all open Mondays, when everything else is closed.
Since the 9/11 attacks I've been to the World Trade Center twice. Though I'm not an American, each visit provides a very somber moment. I truly do not believe that one can fully contemplate how enormous this attack was, not only on the structures themselves but on the psyche of the American people.
Do go, but observe a respectful silence while you're there. If you'd like to see a satellite view of the World Trade Centre site then click here.
The construction of the new World Towers Two is progressing. The site is surrounded by fencing, and you can walk all around it. In some regards it is surreal to be down there and see the large area devastated. What is impressive is that I guess about 5,000 or more come by each week to see the site and remember why we are fighting for our cause now-good or bad?
The Freedom Tower complex is to cost about $2 billion and the main building is going to be 82 stories tall, and total completion is not expected until 2018. The wow factor is due to our "logistic" and opinionated people, the delay in building anything took about 9 years. That is quite an embarrassing feat given we wanted such memorial right away.