Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Reflecting Absence

As a group, we'd talked about getting to NYC pretty much since Jase, Mel, Mike, and I moved out to Harrisburg.  Finally, this fall, our plans came to fruition and we started planning the trip.  All in all, everything came together over a period of about 2 weeks before we headed out (OK...a whole two weeks might be stretching it a little).  With the main portion of the 9/11 memorial opening on the 10th anniversary of September 11 this year, I figured that if we were going to be in NYC what better the chance than to view this new monstrosity of a memorial.  In the early planning phases, we pretty much thought tickets were SOLD OUT through the end of the year...major bummer.  Until I was searching around on the internet one day, researching sightseeing venues, and I happened across the 9/11 Memorial site and scored us tickets :-)  It was our first stop on Saturday morning...and what a sight it was.

Click to watch a time-lapse of the memorial construction

An aerial view of the memorial at night
Below is an excerpt from the design architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker...describing in their own words what the memorial design symbolizes.  The entirety of the design background and information can be viewed on the 9/11 Memorial website.

This memorial proposes a space that resonates with the feelings of loss and absence that were generated by the destruction of the World Trade Center and the taking of thousands of lives on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. It is located in a field of trees that is interrupted by two large voids containing recessed pools. The pools are set within the footprints of the Twin Towers. A cascade of water that describes the perimeter of each square feeds the pools with a continuous stream. They are large voids, open and visible reminders of the absence.

View of the new 1 WTC building, also known as Freedom Tower
(currently under construction) from the park grounds.
When finished, the massive structure will rise 1,776 feet into the air, making it
the tallest building in the United States.

Continuing construction is visible on just about every side surrounding the 9/11 Memorial and WTC sites.

The South Pool--in the footprint of where the South Tower once stood

2,983 names inscribed in bronze surrounding the two reflecting pools thoughtfully grouped by tower, location, and affiliation...with special areas for persons who died in each tower, Flights 11, 77, 93, and 175, as well as those First Responders who died coming to the aide of those trapped in the towers.  The memorial also lists those who died in the attack on the Pentagon and in the February 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.

One tree stands apart from the rest of the 400-some trees at the memorial...
a Callery Pear tree found beneath the rubble in the debris field at ground zero.
It was transplanted at a nursery in the Bronx and rehabilitated in the years since 9/11
...only to be re-planted at the 9/11 Memorial last December.
If you look closely in the photo above, you can see the distinction in the bark
where the new, rehabilitated growth rises out from the charred shell that was
rescued from ground zero. 

I'd heard about the tree...very neat to see it in person and hear the story...almost surreal

Port Authority Police

Morning sun shining on the North Reflecting Pool, the base of the new Freedom Tower in the background. 

Behind this reflective glass will be the 9/11 Memorial Museum...what you
can't see in the photo are two gigantic steel "core" columns that were recovered
and restored from the original towers and stored in Hangar 17 at JFK Airport for a
number of years before being returned to the WTC site. 

View from inside the reflective glass the 9/11 museum is constructed around these massive steel beams.

Look at that stellar-looking group of tourists!

Crazy security road-block things...
Head on over to the National 9/11 Memorial website for more interesting information and facts about the memorial and its construction.  There are plenty of interactive and informative photos, webpages, and blogs to explore.  If you're in NYC, I'd say that the site is definitely, definitely a must-see...I already told Mike that we have to make another stop back once the entire museum is completed and open. Tickets are FREE, but have to be reserved in advance on the memorial's website.  Happy touristing!

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