9-11 Memorial in Progress - Part One
According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, "Virtually every inch of the 16-acre site is under construction, and every day brings new changes to the site, whether it’s the first steel columns for One WTC being raised or the concrete footings being poured for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum."
Amazingly steel is up to the 90th floor and glass to the 63rd floor. Saying it is one thing, seeing it is another. As you approach the Memorial you see One World Trade Center from different angles along your way. That's why I posted these two photos. Whether you call it the September 11 Memorial, the Ground Zero Memorial, 911 Memorial New York or any other name you choose, it is still the Memorial for the World Trade Center of September 11.
We, unfortunately, picked the coldest day of the year to check on the progress at the WTC. Knowing it wasn't completed and knowing it was cold didn't deter us however. The last time I had been to see it, there was a terrible, aching, gaping hole. I just wanted to see something there that would help lift the spirit. I have been watching the progress on the History Channel and Nat Geo but wanted to see for myself.
I knew it was far from done but a 2 hour bus ride was all it takes for us to get there to see it. It is already an amazing site; warming and chilling at the same time. The plaza is large and tree lined. I imagine in the spring it will be breathtaking when all those trees are in bloom and the crowds swell due to the better weather.
All of the trees were trucked in in their grown state. They were loving planted; on 16 acres along with the memorial and buildings there are more than 400 sweetgum oak and swamp white oak trees. They were picked for their fall colors. However, as with the rest of this site, there is always something special. One tree is a survivor. It is a Callery Pear tree that was recovered from the WTC site after 9-11 and replanted there. After the attack it was burned, damaged and blackened. It was sent to Arthur Ross Nursery in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx where it was lovingly nursed back to health for eight years. It was replanted at the site on December 22, 2010. The Callery pear will grow to about 30 feet in height.
So many people are involved in the planning and building from the New York City Police Department to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum to the Downtown Alliance. Web sites abound with information on the progress of construction, plans for the future and of course, history of the site.
One of the most fascinating things is of course the Waterfalls aka Reflecting Pools. The waterfalls were planned to be taller than Niagara Falls but they obviously didn't make it! Unlike Niagara Falls "the water falls in a striated pattern, each drop sparkling distinctly as it falls 30 feet into the pool. The way the wind plays with the water, it makes it feel living,” said Joseph C. Daniels, the president and chief executive of the memorial and museum, as he looked over the expanse." Each pool has 16 pumps capable of pumping water at 3,000 gallons a minute. These pools are in and of themselves beautiful and peaceful, but it is their "frame" that really takes one's breath away. The copper frame is engraved with the names of all who perished in the World Trace Center. Their names were carefully placed next to friends, co-workers, or relatives that perished with them. The victims of course included office workers, firefighters, EMT's, the list is almost endless, nearly 3,000 names. Constructing the copper rim was a gargantuan task. Word went out that victims' families could request their loved one's names be placed next to that of a friend/co-worker/loved one. The team that put the engraving together had names laid out and put into a computer to make sure all requests were honored. Names were placed and moved and re-arranged until they honored every request they received. It is truly a marvel to behold. Both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Many relatives appreciate the memorial as a place they can visit their loved ones whose remains were never found.
As I said earlier we visited on the coldest day of the year. Ice is evident in the pools. You can see if along the edge of the waterfall and falling in the middle of the Reflecting Pool. It is my hope to re-visit the site in the spring when the trees are in bloom. The museum will not be opening until September 2012 but progress and the Memorial itself are well worth the visit. So look for Part Two of this hub in the spring.
Should you want to visit now you must apply for a visitor's pass. Security is very tight and only a certain number of passes are issued. As you enter the site you are greeted with "airport like security" and are asked to removed your coat and place it along with any cameras and pocketbooks in a bin to go through a scanner as you also walk through one. I don't know how long these security measures will remain in effect but eventually the site will be open to the public and visitors passes will not be required.
I couldn't end this hub without a photo taken outside of the Port Authority. As many of you know or may know, Jackie Gleason played Ralph Kramden in the Honeymooners. Ralph was a bus driver. In his honor, there is a beautiful bronze statue of Ralph Kramden.
The museum at the 9-11 Memorial is still not open as of April 26, 2013. It is projected to be open in 2014. Funding and Superstorm Sandy set it back yet a few more steps.
Have you been or will you visit the WTC soon?
- Remembering Sept. 11
A short remembrance of 9/11 with some thoughts about where we go now to return to American pride.