WTC - Ground Zero, New York City
Yes, I went there and yes, I took pictures. I don't believe it necessarily makes me a voyeur. The events of 9/11 broke my heart - I love this city.
But... it really bothered me when people standing behind the fences of the viewing areas were talking really LOUD ("gee, look at that...! ") or just plain yapping, laughing, and acting like tourists often do. And yes, that included Americans, as well. I find such an attitude incomprehensible.
I mean, it may be so in appearance, but his is not just "a construction site where the two tallest buildings in the city once stood".
Unique Suggestions: This is not an attraction. It is a testimonial to the madness this world is sliding into. It is and forever will be a place of introspection.
Many of the people passing behind you lost relatives, friends and co-workers right where you are standing.
Act accordingly and show respect.
The site of the World Trade Center is something you, as a visitor, cannot avoid. You need to see it with your own eyes in order to fully comprehend what the dramatic photos and the horrific videos cannot convey. It happened to you, too.
But we are the ones who saw it happen. Most of us either lost someone that day or know someone who did. Over the weeks afterwards, the warm soft air of September, the same ambiance that inspired the song, "Autumn in New York," carried an an unmistakable and unspeakable stench of the thousands of dead. We lost too many of our brave firefighters, dependable EMS and resolute police to ever forget. For months afterwards, the city was papered with flyers and photos seeking information that would never come.
For myself, on the night of September 10th, I had dinner in an outdoor cafe less than 100 yards away from the South Tower, on the river walk. Afterwards, my dinner companion and I sat on a bench within 50 feet of the boats in the little harbor and chatted with a young mother who said how privileged she, her husband and her toddler were to live in the apartment whose window she pointed to. He worked in one of the upper floors.
A few minutes after 9am the next morning, as I watched the burning North Tower from my window in Jersey City, the second plane, flying abnormally low, turned directly overhead, then sharply back above the Statue of Liberty. I knew exactly where it was headed and screamed at it to stop. My neighbor down the hall, who had come to my window because her view was limited, collapsed when it hit because her she knew that her nephew worked on the very floors it had entered.
I tell you this you so will understand my own need to rage at those who stand on that sacred ground and peddle lurid booklets and videos to you. You will understand why, as I pass through the temporary PATH station, onto the plaza, I will interrupt the sale of that pornography. I ask you, please do not buy it.
Unique Suggestions: Please discourage anyone else from buying that crap. I promise you, possessing and looking at it will not be good for your own mental health. You will discover that it is not a souvenier you will put on your night stand or show to your friends with delight and shared fun.
Fun Alternatives: Go inside the St Paul Chapel and leave a donation. Visit the official Fire Department Memorial Wall at the site of Firehouse #10 on Liberty Street. You will find in those acts the closure and peace that the violent pornography of the attack cannot provide.
First of all, I agree that all the hawkers at Ground Zero are disgusting. It makes me sick to see people making money from this terrible tragedy.
However, to all of you who are telling others to stay away, I hope you remain consistent by never going to another wake to mourn the loss of a loved one. I needed to go and see Ground Zero as part of the healing process from this tragedy. These people may not have been part of my immediate family, but they were part of my American and human family. I shed a tear as I read the names on the wall, and I felt a sense of pride and renewed hope as I watched construction workers rebuild the site beneath the American flag. This tragedy affected us all, and no one should be able to judge whether or not someone else needs to visit this location. It wasn't only New Yorkers that were affected, it was millions of people from all over the world.
I walked past the site of the worst event that has ever happened to my country. Where the World Trade Center once stood there is now an empty hole, and a huge one at that. There's a 40-story building shrouded in black tarp. I initially thought that this was intended as a sign of respect, until I peered up under the tarp and saw the entire facade of this giant building was torn up; pieces of metal, twisted, boarded up windows. It looked like the trailer parks you see on the news after a tornado hit. But this was a 40 story building.
I saw some moronic tourist getting her picture taken in front of the site, smiling and all. I thought to myself, "what are you going to do with this picture when you get it developed?" You might as well blow it up poster size, and frame it with a caption "I am an idiot." It's like having a picture of yourself smiling in front of a grandparent's or parent's casket.
Ground zero was not a "destination" on our New York itinerary. But it's in the middle of Lower Manhattan, so you will see it when you're there. For me it brought home in a very visceral way the events of one of the saddest days of my life: September 11, 2001.
while i advise anyone who wants to, to pay their respect to all the men and women we lost 9-11-01, i urge everyone to not buy the stuff from vendors who stand on the streets nearby selling 9-11 memorabilia. these people are trying to make money off of a horrible tradegy that affected so many lives in a horrible way.
As I sit here and read all these "tips" about Ground Zero, I am totally pissed. As an American it is my right to see Ground Zero. I am coming to NY in December. Yes I am planning to visit Ground Zero in order to pay my respects to those that died AND to those that I know that have family that died there. I am not seeing it as a tourist attraction. Every American in our nation should have the honor of visiting this site in order to appreciate what Americans pay for being who we are. Did I pay? No. But I shed tears for those that were lost, my heart was broken as much as any other American. When you post things about taking cheezy pictures and some *** wanting to take these photos home, you insult the patriotism of those that are American and those that are proud to be Americans. You insult the hearts of those that want to see this site because our world was changed that day too. I will be there. Call me whatevver you want. I am not there as a tourist. I am there as an American.
Its just a big flat space nothing to see.
Do something better with your time.
Unique Suggestions: Take a walk around the business centre. Stock Exchange, George Washington Statue.
Driving is not good here as many streets are closed off.
Wall Street is a little disapointing its a narrow canyon like street.
But this is the area where New York started back in the 1600s.
Have your photo taken with the 'BULL' if you can get close enough, as other people have the same idea its very busy.
Fun Alternatives: Take the Staten Island Ferry its FREE
It sails past the Statue of Liberty.
Awesome~THANK YOU SO MUCH for this comment!~>
"" I don't want to be disrespectfull or be just a gawking tourist.""
As for your tour, I say DEFINITELY NOT.
I would however use them for a tour of the downtown area..
I live here, just two blocks shy of the trade-center,
and let me tell you, the trade center pit is not at all the main attraction here..
and imo, was never really the cream of the downtown crop even when the buildings were standing..
A must-see, yes..
Worth more than 15 minutes, no.
Check out the World Financial Centre across the highway..
It's far more attractive than the trade center was (and of course is)..
Plus it has the "best" view of the construction site that is the WTC..
and has water-front property that is a nice refreshing touch to a day stuck in cement canyons.
As for downtown, ask your guide to see "historic lower manhattan"..
Wall St., Stone St., Hanover, South William St., Pearl & Water St., Marketfield.. all the hidden nooks and crannies of the REAL historic New Amsterdam..
Then stop in to Fraunces Tavern and soak it all up with an pint of Old Speckled Hen..
OR if you're a big construction buff.. or some kind of wierdo.. you can just stare at the WTC all day like those gawking tourists! hahah
:) Enjoy NYC!
Such a disaster in 2001. The Americans seem to have let the memory fade a bit. To be fair, the reason it is a building site is that the development of the site has at last started, and it looks as if it will be an attractive and respectful place. It is due to open, with a signature tower taller than the last ones, on 11 September 2011.
For now, however, the memorial building is very small, and although there are some memorabilia which tell the human story, the whole thing could and should be a lot bigger. For what will be remembered for centuries, and debated over by historians, there is less museum space than, say, Ellis Island.
Unique Suggestions: You won't miss much at the moment, and the dreadful memories are covered with heavy plant.
I'll spare you the moral outrage, though I'm sympathetic to it. I would agree more with the person complaining about the tchotchke salesmen down there, except that they'd go away if morons would stop buying their stuff. They're just trying to make a living, and it's hard to blame them for that no matter how tawdry a way of doing it it is (and believe me, it is), but there's really nothing more offensive to me than the sub-cretins who buy this crap to take back to Nebraska.
All right, I lied, I didn't skip the moral outrage, but the point is, in the immortal words of every cop in every movie ever made, "Show's over, folks, nothing more to see here." No matter how maudlin you are, no matter your sick, twisted fascination with this place, the fact remains that all you accomplish by going here is slowing down the people on Church Street and in the PATH station who are actually trying to get somewhere. Taking your cheesey snapshots won't bring back all the people who died for no reason, nor will it make the people who commit such wanton violence think twice before they do it again, so just go somewhere else, for your own mental health's sake.
Unique Suggestions: Spend as little time there as possible, don't buy any maudlin crap from the vendors, and don't pretend you know what you're talking about. If you weren't there, and/or you didn't know anyone who died or had to run for their lives, you simply cannot comprehend what it was like when it happened. You can fill up your digital camera card. You can buy an entire Vietnamese sweatshop's output of T-shirts with American flags on them, but it won't reach you in any meaningful way as far as I can tell. There are plenty of places for quiet reflection around the city, and this isn't one of them.
On the other hand, if you're interested in construction, and in particular very slow construction, and in particular construction of things we have no use for, you can watch the snail's-pace work on the new World Trade Center, anchored by the Freedom Tower, but it's not much to see, and you'll only be getting in the way. Every morning on my way to work I'm delayed by tourists. Don't be one of those people.
One more thing: sometimes the electronic sign in the PATH station is broken...it's supposed to say "Welcome|| to the World || Trade Center" (why you need an electronic sign to always show the same message is beyond me) but the rightmost section often breaks and so it's just "Welcome || to the World." That's worth a picture, I suppose...I've taken one myself. It's sort of poetic.
Fun Alternatives: To tell you the truth, I really enjoy wandering around Downtown. There's not much on the usual tourist path down there, other than Brooklyn Bridge and George Bush's Basement...erm...Ground Zero, and maybe the outside of the Stock Exchange, which is, by the way, only sort of on Wall Street...that's the side entrance. The front door and the prodigiously large flag across the columns and all that is around the corner on Broad Street. Anyway, walk around, bring a map if you're not too confident on your navigational abilities, and see where New York began.
Ground Zero is a place with a lot of tragic memories attached to it. If you would like to take a moment and remember the sad things that happend on September 11th, I would recomend you to go there. But if you are curious about the Ground Zero site, I have to disapoint you. It is all covered up with high fences covered so you can't see inside. And if you find a hole somewhere.... It is a contruction site, just a bit bigger than normal.
GROUND ZERO IS THE SITE OF THE TRAGIC EVENTS OF 9/11/01 WHEN TERRORISTS HIJACKED PLANES AND THEN DELIBERATLEY FLOWN THEM INTO THE TWIN TOWERS IN WHICH 3000 PEOPLE IN TOTAL DIED. IT IS KINDA DISRESPECTFUL TO MAKE GROUND ZERO A TOURIST SPOT AND FOR THE LOCALS TO CASH IN ON IT.
HOWEVER, WHEN I WENT THERE THEY STARTED CONSTRUCTION WORK ON THE FOUNDATIONS AND YOU'LL ALSO FIND LOADS OF MEMORIALS ABOUT THE SITE.
Fun Alternatives: BATTERY PARK IS A PLEASANT PLACE TO WONDER AROUND IN. IT IS LOCATED NOT FAR FROM THE GROUND ZERO SITE.
The site of the World Trade Center is currently New York's largest tourist trap. With more visitors in 2001-2002 than when the towers were standing, the loss of the twin towers has done much for the revitalization of Lower Manhattan. But really, it isn't worth the effort. The sidewalks are wall-to-wall people, there is nothing left to see except a big, clean hole in the ground, and the commercialization of such an enormous loss of life (the hawkers are awful) is disrespectful enough to turn anyone's stomach.
Unique Suggestions: Since we were living in NYC, great strides have been taken to return Lower Manhattan to some semblance of normalcy. The city erected a number of plaques with information about the towers, the enormous loss of life as a result of their fall, and the city's intention to rebuild. Right down at the edge of the site, this information is wonderfully presented.
Fun Alternatives: Rather than joining in the fray, pay your respects from a different location in the city. The hole in the New York skyline created by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers is visible from just about anywhere in Manhattan - and indeed well beyond.
Don't bother going there now - there is absolutely nothing to see, there are wooden boards around the area and you will surely be dissapointed.
Unique Suggestions: bring a book :) The area around there is a business area, there aren't many places to go out for a decent meal or hang out or other things to see, unless you are interested in taking a tour of the stock exchange or something. BUT if you are there check out the pakistani tea kitchen. mmmmm good simple cheap indian food.
Fun Alternatives: Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge!! Great view of manhattan skyline and it brings you to Brooklyn which is da bomb!
i will be visiting the east coast for the first time in december 2010 and want to pay my respects at what many U.S. citizens call ground zero. After reading the various opinions on this site im more proud than ever to visit this site and call myself a citizen of the United States of America. The very fact that as Americans we can disagree about such a tragic event shows a freedom of speech and opinion that most of the world does not enjoy.