New York City’s September 11 Memorial: Reflections on “Reflecting Absence”
The two reflecting pools straddling New York City’s 9/11 Memorial’s are jolting. The mind, body and soul collectively absorb the thump felt in the gut caused by the memorial’s dark granite walls, perpetual river-of-tears waterfalls, eerie voids and the seemingly endless list of victims’ names. It is on the short list of the most striking man-made structures in the Unites States of America.
Architect Michael Arad named his winning 9/11 Memorial design “Reflecting Absence.” His design, created in association with landscape architecture firm Peter Walker & Partners, commemorates those lost on that dark, sunny Tuesday.
The absent fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, sons, daughters, grandpas, grandmas, cousins and friends would be proud. So would the victims of the 1993 World Trade Center attack who are also memorialized.
“Reflecting Absence” is also a declaration to New Yorkers, to Americans and to the world that we can look back to honor the past while riding our three trusty steeds into the future: recovery, renewal and perseverance. Look beneath the sadness and you’ll find examples of all three at New York’s 9/11 Memorial.
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New York City’s 9/11 Memorial: Recovery, Renewal, Perseverance
The memorial’s waterfalls land in reflecting pools. The water drifts into chasms in the middle of the pools and eventually finds its way back to the top of the waterfalls: recovery.
The Swamp White Oak Trees lining the memorial’s grounds were chosen for both their hardiness and the nature of their life-cycles. Their leaves bloom in the spring, fall off after their colorful autumn display and re-bloom in the spring. Life continues: renewal.
A Callery Pear Tree was found charred, broken and almost lifeless among 9/11’s rubble. Nicknamed the “Survivor Tree,” it spent 9 years healing at the Arthur Ross Nursery in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park.
The Survivor Tree was almost destroyed (again) by a rainstorm in early 2010. In December 2010, Mayor Bloomberg replanted it in Memorial Plaza. Now stronger than ever, the tree stands over 20 feet taller than when it was rescued: perseverance…strength… optimism.
Go to New York’s 9/11 Memorial to remember. Go to see. Go to feel.
New York City’s 9/11 Memorial: Notes & Tips
Before You Arrive
Be sure to also read the Before You Arrive page.
Go Before You Go To New York City’s 9/11 Memorial
New York’s 9/11 Memorial has no bathrooms available. Bathrooms are hard to find even after you leave the memorial. The few restaurants/bars in the area often have long lines of toe-taping memorial visitors waiting their turns. Try not to drink much before or during your visit.
For larger view of map, click square in map’s upper-right corner.
Yellow pin= 9/11 Memoeial
Security at New York City’s 9/11 Memorial
The security check is similar to what you encounter at airports. Take as little with you as possible.
Respect the grounds at New York City’s 9/11 Memorial
Do not sit, lean or place anything on the bronze parapets that have the victims’ names engraved on them. Treat them like gravestones.
9/11 Memorial Employees
There are lots of 9/11 Memorial employees standing around. They are there to not only keep an eye on things, but to inform you. Ask them questions about the memorial.
New York City’s 9/11 Museum
Eleven firefighters from the East Village’s Ladder Company 3 rushed to the Twin Towers on 9/11. None of them returned home. Nearly 10 years later, on 07/20/11, their crushed and burned 30-ton fire engine was hoisted and lowered into the 9/11 Museum.
View the 9/11 Museum’s page here.