September 11 Memorial and Museum

September 11 Memorial and Museum

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum are located on the very place where the twin towers of the New York World Trade Center tumbled down after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. In the morning of that day four al Qaeda terrorist groups hijacked four passenger airliners. Two of those planes crashed into the towers of the WTC, the third went down to hit the Pentagon building. The fourth liner initially was approaching Washington (it is supposed that the Capitol building was the terrorists' target), but the crew and the passengers organized a revolt and assaulted the hijackers. Although the passengers and the crew are believed to have entered the cockpit and engaged in fight with the terrorists, so the plane crashed in the state of Pennsylvania. As a result of the attacks, 246 passengers and crew members, 125 people in Pentagon and 2,606 people trapped inside the twin towers and on the ground died. Trying to avoid being burnt alive some 200 people made the decision to take the deadly jump from the towers windows. 341 firefighters and two paramedics of the New York City Fire Department along with 60 police officers and 8 emergency medical technicians died in the fire and under the wreckage. The victims were from 91 countries.

In 2003 an international contest for the best memorial project was announced. It was won by the Reflecting Absence project designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker. The memorial was opened on September 11, 2011, 10 years after the tragedy. Two pools are the centerpiece of the memorial with the major artificial waterfalls in the United States. They are located exactly on the places where the towers once stood symbolizing the death of so many and the absence that remained after the attacks. The sound of falling water and the murmur of the leaves from the trees planted around the memorial make the city noises vanish and leave the visitors alone with their thoughts. Nearly 3,000 names of men, women and children killed in the 9/11 attacks and 1993 WTC bombing are engraved on bronze balusters that surround two pools.

Next to the memorial a glass prism is shining, this is the entrance to the museum. It was established deep underground (21 meters below the surface) and entrance to the memorial halls is allowed through a pavilion shaped like a ruined building. Here you will see two giant tridents, the survived steel columns of the twin towers. Among the artifacts here you will see damaged vehicles (including a deformed fire engine), metal pieces coming from all of the WTC buildings, recordings of the survivors testimonies and emergency workers (including 911 calls) and photos from the site. Next to the museum an unusual tree is growing, which is a pear. It was severely burnt during the attack, but today the tree is blossoming again thus being a symbol of rebirth.

Address: 180 Greenwich St
Opening hours: memorial is open daily, free entrance; museum Mon-Thu, Sun 9 am – 8 pm (entry till 6), Fri-Sat (entry till 7 pm), a fee is charged.
How to reach: subway Fulton St (A, C, J, 2, 3, 4, 5), Park Place (2, 3)