Tag Archives: 9/11 Memorial

Visiting the 9/11 Memorial

by Ash, New York Guest Concierge

This past weekend, I had my first opportunity to visit the newly opened 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site with close family members. I am very fortunate that we reserved our tickets months ago and were able to be among those to see the superbly crafted tribute just a month into its official opening on the 10th Anniversary of the attacks.

Originally from North Carolina, I have been living in Manhattan since January 1995, and was walking down 5th Avenue to where I then worked at the time the planes hit. I will never forget all what New Yorkers (and our guests) have gone through since that day: first shock and concern; then on to disbelief and anger; followed by resilience and compassion; and now of course healing and pride.

I’m so pleased that the final design of the memorial is so stunning and appropriate. The design is a plaza with two vast black granite squares of waterfalls falling 30 feet into the ground. The names of those killed on September 11, 2001 (including those who died aboard flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, PA and those who perished at the Pentagon) as well as the previous bombing on February 26, 1993 are etched in the surrounding bronze parapet that frames each pool. One World Trade Center (informally known as the “Freedom Tower”) is being built just north of the complex, the 9/11 Museum (scheduled to open September 2012), and all around are other signs of rebuilding. In fact, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum are just a portion of an 8-acre park that will eventually wind around the various buildings at the spot.

The quiet majesty of the two buildings is evident in the subdued vastness of the water that collect in the large pools that stand in the footprints of the twin towers. Admission is controlled, so there isn’t ever a huge crowd – allowing you time to share your own experiences and feelings with those in your party. I also found myself walking alone at times, reflecting in my own thoughts.

One of the most amazing things to see, and one that could be easy to overlook, is a 30 foot callery pear tree that was discovered, with snapped roots and a blackened trunk, in the ruins of the buildings in October 2001. The tree, which was originally planted in the 1970’s, was nursed back to health (now standing over 30 feet tall) and replanted in the WTC Plaza in December 2010. Look for this remarkable tree standing just east of the south pool. It stands as its own quiet ode to how strong and determined any New Yorker – including those of the plant variety – can be!

Though admission to the 9/11 Memorial is often booked months in advance, New York Guest can help book a tour that includes admission to the 9/11 Memorial. Other attractions included in this tour include the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the Firefighter’s Memorial, St. Paul’s Chapel (which served as a triage center during 9/11) and many others. Obviously, this tour is extremely popular and does sell out, so contact your New York Guest trip advisor to book your tour in advance.

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Visitor Information for the 9/11 Memorial

Good morning! Louise, New York Guest’s Executive Manager of Community Sales & Marketing here with an important reminder about planning ahead for your upcoming trip to NYC. As I’m sure everyone knows, this fall marks the 10 year anniversary of a very dark day in our beautiful city’s history, and this September we will officially open the Memorial to the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

What is the 9/11 Memorial?

The 9/11 Memorial is a tribute to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror  attacks of September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in  Pennsylvania, near the town of Shanksville, and in the attack on the World Trade  Center on February 26, 1993. The Memorial will be open for the first time and dedicated in a private ceremony for the victims’ families. The first day the memorial is open to the public will be September 12th. The accompanying museum will open on September 11th, 2012.

The Memorial consists of two reflecting pools set in the footprints of where the Twin Towers stood. The names of the victims are engraved along the perimeter of the pools in memorium. The pools are surrounded by a stunning plaza which will eventually contain over 400 oak trees. I know it will be a peaceful place to reflect on a sad time in our history but also be hopeful for the future.

Visiting the Memorial

The memorial is free to visit but you must make an advanced timed reservation. The area is still heavily under construction and there is a need to avoid over-crowding. Passes must be reserved under the name of the person visiting and passes are non-transferrable, meaning that last minute passes will not be available. If you wish to visit the memorial you must make a reservation.

If you are interested in visiting the Memorial on your trip to New York City it is important that you make your reservation well in advance of your trip or there is a good chance you will not be able to see the Memorial. Especially for the first few months, every New Yorker and visitor alike will be anxious to pay their respects.

For reservations for individual passes or group visits, please e-mail me lgeller@newyorkguest.com with the dates of your visit and the times you have available to visit the Memorial and I’ll advise on availability.

Since your visit is timed, I highly suggest that you make a day of it and enjoy all the rich culture and history that is available in Downtown Manhattan. It is an incredible and underappreciated part of the city. I’ll be happy to assist with other recommendations of things to do while you’re downtown. Downtown Manhattan has come so far since that terrible day and while we owe the site the respect owed to all hallowed ground, we should also celebrate the bright future of our wonderful city, a city that can face so much and still be (I’m not biased at all) the greatest city on Earth. Now more than ever – We Love New York!

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