In my last post I talked about all of the new buildings rising up from the ashes of the World Trade Center site. Of course, it is also the site of a terrible tragedy and everyone who works there is very aware of that. The 9/11 museum which is actually under the site of the two memorial pools is still under construction and we were privileged to be allowed to see that.
Here are the stairs down into the museum.
Beside them are the famous “tridents”, the exterior steel from the original towers which survived the attack and collapse. You can see the side of one here:
Other large artifacts have already been moved into the museum space, including a damaged fire engine, a police car, and this New York City taxi:
Also being preserved are structural parts of the old Twin Towers, such as this girder base:
I know the Twin Towers were considered by many to be architecturally undistinguished, but to me, they were beloved landmarks marking the tip of Manhattan. I am glad their memory is being kept alive.
Another part of the original towers is this staircase which somehow stayed intact. People walked down it and lived so it’s known as a “survivor staircase”. You can see all the foam and packing on top of it to protect it. Even more amazing is the fact that it’s been moved off the site and back onto the site. And this is several tons of concrete! As Steve Plate said, there’s a lot of extreme engineering going on at the new World Trade Center.
Of course, the most important memorial is to the people who died on that terrible day. The 9/11 Memorial opened on the tenth anniversary of the tragedy and occupies half of the 16-acre site. These twin memorial pools, set on the footprints of the North and South Towers are one of the most moving tributes I have ever seen.
The pools themselves, with the water dropping away out of sight, create a tremendous sense of absence. Their colossal size reminds the visitor of the scale of the tragedy.
Around each pool are the names of the people who died on that spot, grouped by their association with a company or a fire house or a precinct. My husband, a former Wall Streeter, knew many of these people well through his work. Francis Joseph Trombino was just one of the colleagues he lost.
My first cousin and seven people from my small New Jersey suburb also perished in the attack.
A pear tree which was growing in the plaza around the original Twin Towers was somehow still clinging to life among the wreckage. It was dug up and taken to a Bronx nursery where it was nursed back to health. In December of 2010, it was replanted at its former home, where it gives mute, yet eloquent testament to the persistence of life. It is known as the Survivor Tree, and visitors pay tribute to its courage by placing coins from all nations at the base of its trunk.
It was a very emotional visit, but I came away believing that the dead have been well-honored and the living will never forget.