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    9/11 Memorial: visit the Ground Zero Memorial

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    Lluis Enric Mayans
    @lluisenricmayans
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    Visit the 9/11 Memorial, the memorial to the victims of the September 11 2001 attack, is probably the most touching experience you can have in New York. Arrived at Ground Zero, it is impossible not to be moved by the 2 large bases that once formed the foundations of the twin towers, which today have become 2 large mirrored tubs called in a poetic and eloquent way "Reflecting Absence".

    Index

    • Where is it and how to get there
    • To see
      • Reflecting Pools
      • Survivor Tree
    • What to see in the surroundings
      • 9 / 11 Memorial Museum
      • One World Trade Center skyscraper
      • Oculus di Calatrava - World Trade Center Transportation Hub
    • Organized tours of the area
    • Photo Gallery

    Where is it and how to get there

    The memorial is an open-air public park, so admission is free, no tickets are required. You can visit it from 7:30 to 21:00 every day of the year except, as you can guess, on 11 September itself, when the whole area is involved in demonstrations in memory of the attacks.



    As soon as you arrive, stop at the kiosk that distributes maps and information brochures. The best way to get there, as with most New York attractions, is to use the subway. There are many stops nearby and you will be spoiled for choice, here are the main ones:

    • Chambers Street Station: linee A, C, 1, 2 e 3
    • Cortlandt Street Station:  linee N, R e W
    • Park Place Station: lines 2 and 3
    • World Trade Center Station: line E

    To see

    A large green area stands today in the heart of Ground Zero, two pools have been dug into the foundations of what were once the twin towers, and one tree in particular continues to symbolize the resilience of life in the face of tragedies.



    Reflecting Pools

    At the center of the 2 basins there is an empty and apparently bottomless square, where the water flows copiously, without leaving a glimpse of a term, as if to express the infinite tears that the world has shed for the tragedy. The names of the victims are engraved along the edge, on which it is not uncommon to find roses set that passers-by leave in an alienating atmosphere of respectful silence, a world apart from the feverish vitality of the surrounding streets of Manhattan.

    The Ground Zero memorial is actually dedicated not only to the victims of 11/26 but also to those of the attack on February 1993, XNUMX, when a bomb van exploded in the underground car park of the Word Trade Center killing 6 people and injuring more than 1000. The bases are located inside a wooded park, made up of American white oaks, chosen for their longevity and the propensity to grow at different heights and change foliage colors at different times of the season, to underline the uniqueness of every single person who lost their life in the tragedy.

    Survivor Tree

    Only a tree does not belong to the species of oaks (tree symbol of life itself), it is a but miraculously recovered from the rubble and renamed Survivor Tree, which has become a living testimony of rebirth and hope. You will recognize it easily, as it is different from all other trees and is the only one surrounded by protective supports.

    Almost a month after the terrorist attacks he was found, despite the burnt leaves and broken branches, still alive buried by the remains of the skyscrapers. It was then taken to heart by the workers who worked at Gorund Zero and entrusted to the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which in 2010 were able to relocate it to its outdoor place.



    What to see in the surroundings

    Considering that we are in Lower Manhattan there are many things to see in the surrounding area, but here I prefer to point out those themed with the events that took place in this place.

    9 / 11 Memorial Museum

    In the park, between the 2 pools, there is also the 9 / 11 Memorial Museum, a glass building whose exterior resembles that of a skyscraper cut in half. The exhibition rooms are underground, between the pillars of the old towers, and you will find photographic and video evidence, personal effects, audio recordings in real time and some original remains with a high symbolic value, such as the "survivors' staircase", which that day saved many lives, the last column to be removed from the site, which carries messages from relatives, friends and rescuers, and the charred cabin of one of the fire trucks that intervened on 11/XNUMX. The entrance to the Museum is in Greenwich Street and unlike the memorial, it requires the payment of the ticket.

    One World Trade Center skyscraper

    Adjacent to the park was built the skyscraper that replaced the twin towers, the One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, a splendid 104-storey building in which the bright sun is reflected, and which greatly embellishes the surrounding context. The skyscraper is not strictly part of the memorial, even if it is practically 2 steps away, and therefore requires the payment of a ticket to enter, get to the top and admire a breathtaking 360 ° panorama of the city of New York (the One World Observatory) .


    Learn more about admission to the One World Observatory

    Oculus di Calatrava - World Trade Center Transportation Hub

    Designed by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, finished construction in 2016, this imposing work, also known as the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, houses a connecting station between the metro lines, the PATH trains (which connect mainly New Jersey to the Big Apple) and Hudson Ferry Terminal. Along its floors there is also the largest shopping center in Manhattan: the Westfield World Trade Center. You can find out more about this place by reading our article entirely dedicated toOculus of New York.


    Organized tours of the area

    If to visit the Ground Zero area and the 9/11 Memorial you want to rely on organized tours that include (in most cases) also a visit to the nearby attractions that we have described, you can take a look at the links below:

    • Guided tour of the Memorial and Ground Zero with optional ticket
    • All Access 9/11: admission to Museum, One World Observatory and Grand Zero Tour
    • One World Observatory and World Trade Center Small Group Tour
    • One World Observatory admission and Statue of Liberty tour
    • Grand Zero and 9/11 Memorial tour with optional One World Observatory or 9/11 Museum visit

    Photo Gallery

    Survivor Tree
    Reflecting Pools
    One World Trade Center
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