The “tridents” which are located in the future 9/11 Museum can be seen from outside at the 9/11 Memorial
With the 12th anniversary of the horrific events of September 11th tomorrow, we thought it would be appropriate to find some of the memorials and shrines in New York City where visitors can pay respects and view a live historical artifact from that somber day.
The World Trade Center site looks nothing like it did five or ten years ago; heaps and tons of metal have been removed from the wreckage. These artifacts are stored in the 80,000 square-foot Hangar 17 in John F. Kennedy Airport, where they are cut and sorted to be sent out, filling hundreds of requests from around the world to have a piece of the hallowed material for shrines and memorials. The Washington Post has a gallery of some of the relics that can be found in this hangar complete with some personal items found in the rubble. In addition, the 9/11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center site will soon find a home for many more artifacts, giving visitors a chance to learn even more about the buildings that once stood at that very place. Here are some of our favorite public spaces, parks, and memorial sites where you can find a real piece of the original towers, or simply pay your respects.
Tribute in Light 2012, viewed from Jersey City. photo via Flickr.
An important part of the 9/11 memorial ceremonies is the Tribute in Light. On the night of September 11th every year (so far), an art installation of 88 searchlights is set up in Ground Zero and flashed toward the sky as a tribute of the towers that once stood. This year’s lights will turn on at sunset on 9/11, ending sunrise the next day. These lights can be seen from as far as 60 miles away on a clear night, a beacon to all those who were affected by the attacks. The tribute has seen a lot of controversy, including several termination dates, but ultimately the installation remains a major spectacle of New York City’s ceremonies on this date. We previously went behind-the-scenes into the installation of the famous lights, with photos here.
Franz Koenig Sphere in Battery Park
The Sphere once stood in between the North and South Towers at the original World Trade Center.
In Battery Park, the Sphere is a bronze sculpture by Franz Koenig that once stood in the Tobin Plaza between the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. After the attacks on September 11th, the Sphere was recovered from the rubble and relocated to Battery Park near the Hope Garden. It accompanies an Eternal Flame that was lit on the first anniversary of the attacks. The plaque reads: “It was damaged during the tragic events of 11 September 2001, but endures as an icon of hope and the indestructible spirit of this country. The Sphere was placed here on 11 March 2002 as a temporary memorial to all who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.”
Ground Zero Cross at St. Peter’s Church
The Ground Zero Cross at St. Peter’s Church at 22 Barclay Street. via Flickr.
Inscription at the base of the Ground Zero Cross. via Flickr.
The iconic “Ground Zero Cross,” a group of steel beams in the shape of a cross from the rubble of the World Trade Center, was quite possibly the very first shrine after the attacks. From around the time it was found at Ground Zero, those with access used the cross as a place to leave flowers, notes, and pictures of loved ones. As the site was being cleared, the cross was moved to St. Peter’s Church, which faces Ground Zero, and it continues to be a major draw for families and those wanting to remember the events of that day. When the new 9/11 Memorial Museum opens, the cross will be relocated once more as part of the museum’s exhibits.
The Survivor Tree in Memorial Plaza is easily one of the largest trees in the memorial.
Within the Memorial Plaza, where visitors can view the reflecting pools at the current World Trade Center Memorial, stands the Survivor Tree, which we’ve covered before. It is a Callery pear tree that survived the attacks on 9/11, and was worked into the design of the Memorial Plaza. Workers managed to free it and nurse it back to health in a Bronx park before replanting it again in Memorial Plaza. Survivor Tree, now standing at about thirty feet, approximately four times its original height back in 2001, easily towers over the other trees planted in the Plaza. Visitors flock around the tree–a living and breathing reminder that we must grow and move forward after these events, as its limbs bear the scars of the Towers.
9/11 Cross at Rockaway Beach
We recently covered another cross from the World Trade Center rubble located in a parking lot in Rockaway Beach, Queens. It may be in a seemingly random spot, but it invokes the memory of September 11th nonetheless, especially as it is visually similar to the Ground Zero Cross. It was donated by the Department of Sanitation to the local Knights of Columbus chapter and erected at the site on Beach 90th close to Jamaica Bay.
Image via Flickr by y Tony Fischer Photography
Artist Steve Tobin created a bronze cast from a remaining stump and root of a 70-year-old sycamore tree that shielded St. Paul’s Cathedral from falling debris on 9/11. It was installed in the courtyard of Trinity Church. Said the artist, “This sculpture is about the power of the unseen and the strength beneath the surface. It’s really not about a tree. When you look at this piece and look away, I would hope that people think about things that are not visually apparent.”
FDNY Memorial Wall
The Bronze FDNY Memorial Wall on Liberty Street. Photo by Britt Crosby.
Close to the World Trade Center site is the ladder company of some of the very first responders. Firefighters from Ladder & Engine 10 who gave their lives on September 11th are immortalized on this 56-foot bronze sculpture, a common stop for visitors on their way to see 1 WTC and other parts of Memorial Plaza.
Although the Firefighter’s Memorial, located at 100th Street and Riverside Drive, was dedicated in 1913, for the past ten years it has served as a place for families and fellow firefighters to remember the 343 comrades who perished on September 11th 2001.
[Update: There's also three pieces of WTC fragments and a stained glass at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi on 31st Street. Find out more here.]
What are your favorite WTC Memorial sites? Know of any other places where you can find artifacts from the rubble? Leave us a comment and check back with us for any updates!