What happened on September 11, 2001 is etched in the minds of those who witnessed the tragedy. The world watched in horror as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed, leaving a city and a nation in shock.
- What happened on 9/11?
- 9/11 Memorial Pools / Ground Zero
- National September 11th Memorial Museum
- What to see nearby
- Tours of the 9/11 Memorial
- How to get to 9/11 Memorials in NY?
In the aftermath of the attacks, the city came together in grief and resilience and has since erected many memorials to remember those who lost their lives. Each memorial stands as a testament to the strength of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable tragedy.
You can visit these memorials and the nearby museum. Visiting the memorials and the museum is both an educational and emotional experience. From learning the stories of those affected by 9/11 to paying tribute to their memory, this museum is a must-see for anyone who wants to honor those who lost their lives on that fateful day.
What happened on 9/11?
The September 11th attacks, also known as 9/11, were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States on September 11, 2001. The attacks were carried out by 19 terrorists affiliated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda, who hijacked four commercial airplanes with the intention of crashing them into significant targets.
- Two of the planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, causing the collapse of both towers and resulting in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people, including civilians, first responders, and airline passengers and crew.
- Another plane was flown into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing 125 people inside the building and all 64 people on the plane.
- The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was headed for Washington, D.C., but crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers attempted to overcome the hijackers.
The 9/11 attacks were the deadliest terrorist attack in world history and resulted in significant changes in security and policy around the world. The attacks also led to the United States launching the War on Terror, which resulted in military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries. The legacy of 9/11 continues to be felt today, both in the ongoing efforts to combat terrorism and in the memorialization of the victims and the events of that day.
9/11 Memorial Pools / Ground Zero
9/11 Memorial Pools, also known as the National September 11 Memorial, are two large reflecting pools located in the exact footprints of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, New York City. Each pool is nearly an acre in size and features the largest man-made waterfalls in North America.
How many names are on the 9/11 Memorial?
The pools are surrounded by bronze panels that are inscribed with the names of the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, as well as the six people who were killed in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
The names are arranged according to where individuals were at the time of the attacks, and special symbols indicate firefighters, police officers, and other first responders who lost their lives.
Design of the pools
The design of the 9/11 Memorial Pools is a significant aspect of the overall memorial. The pools were designed by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker, and their design was selected from a competition that attracted more than 5,000 entries from 63 countries.
The pools are each nearly an acre in size and are located in the exact footprints of the Twin Towers. The pools are lined with a special synthetic granite and feature the largest man-made waterfalls in North America, which cascade down into the pools. The waterfalls help to drown out the noise of the city and create a tranquil atmosphere for visitors to reflect and pay tribute to those who lost their lives.
Why is it called Ground Zero?
The term Ground Zero was originally used to describe the point on the earth’s surface directly below the location of a nuclear explosion. The term was first used in this context during the Manhattan Project, the US government’s research and development program to create the first atomic bomb during World War II.
Following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the term Ground Zero was used to describe the site of the attacks in New York City. The term became widely used in the media and in popular culture to refer to the location where the Twin Towers once stood.
The use of the term Ground Zero to describe the site of the 9/11 attacks has been criticized by some as being insensitive or inappropriate, as it is associated with the destruction and devastation of a nuclear explosion.
However, the term has remained in use and is now widely recognized as a term that refers specifically to the site of the attacks on September 11, 2001.
National September 11th Memorial Museum
The museum is dedicated to preserving the memory of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The museum features various exhibits, artifacts and personal stories of survivors, first responders and family members of victims. You can see the highlights of the museum below.
- Twin Tower Tridents: The Twin Tower Tridents are two large steel structures that were part of the original design of the Twin Towers. The tridents were located at the base of the buildings and supported the weight of the towers. After the collapse of the towers on 9/11, the tridents were recovered from the rubble and became symbols of resilience and strength in the aftermath of the attacks. The tridents are now on display in the museum, providing visitors with a tangible connection to the iconic buildings that once stood on the site.
- Slurry Wall: The Slurry Wall is a massive concrete structure that served as a foundation for the original World Trade Center complex. The wall was built to prevent the Hudson River from flooding the site, and its strength and stability helped to prevent further damage to the surrounding area during the collapse of the towers on 9/11. The Slurry Wall is now an integral part of the National September 11th Memorial, as it forms part of the foundation of the Memorial Pools. The Slurry Wall is also on display in the museum, providing visitors with a powerful reminder of the engineering and construction feats that made the original World Trade Center possible.
- Last Column: The Last Column is a steel column that stood at the heart of the World Trade Center site, serving as a symbol of hope and resilience during the recovery effort. Covered in messages of support, gratitude, and remembrance from rescue workers, the column was the final piece of steel to be removed from the site in May 2002. It now stands in the museum as a tribute to the thousands of individuals who worked tirelessly in the aftermath of the attacks.
- Survivors’ Staircase: The Survivors’ Staircase is a staircase that was originally located in the World Trade Center complex and provided an escape route for hundreds of people on 9/11. The staircase survived the collapse of the towers and was relocated to the museum as a testament to the bravery and determination of those who survived the attacks.
- Ladder Company 3: Ladder Company 3 was one of the first emergency responders on the scene of the September 11 attacks in New York City. The company’s truck, which was badly damaged during the attacks, has since become an iconic symbol of the courage and sacrifice of the first responders who risked their lives to save others that day.
- Elevator Motor: The Elevator Motor is an artifact that was recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. The motor was part of the elevator system that served the Twin Towers, and was located in the North Tower. The motor was discovered during the recovery effort and is now on display in the museum. The artifact serves as a reminder of the massive scale of the World Trade Center complex, and the crucial role that elevators played in transporting workers and visitors to the upper floors.
Do you have to pay to see the 9/11 Memorial pools?
While there is no fee to visit the 9/11 Memorial Pools, there is a fee to enter the National September 11th Memorial Museum, which is located adjacent to the memorial.
Admission fees for the museum vary depending on age and other factors, and discounts are available for certain groups. Visitors are encouraged to book their museum tickets in advance, as the museum can be busy and sell out quickly, especially during peak tourist season.
What to see nearby
The Memorial Glade
The Memorial Glade is an important addition to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. It was dedicated on May 30, 2019, as a tribute to the ongoing sacrifices of rescue and recovery workers, as well as survivors, who continue to face health problems related to their work at the World Trade Center site following the 9/11 attacks.
The Memorial Glade is located on the southwest corner of the 9/11 Memorial Plaza, near the Survivor Tree, which is a pear tree that was found in the rubble of the World Trade Center site and nursed back to health.
The Glade is a pathway of six large stone monoliths, each weighing between 13 and 18 tons, that symbolize the strength and determination of the rescue and recovery workers who worked tirelessly in the aftermath of the attacks.
The Memorial Glade is intended to serve as a reminder of the ongoing sacrifices made by those who worked at the site in the aftermath of the attacks, and it provides a place of contemplation and remembrance for visitors to the 9/11 Memorial.
It is a powerful and poignant addition to the memorial and a tribute to the resilience and strength of those who continue to be affected by the events of 9/11.
The Survivor Tree
The Survivor Tree is a symbol of hope and resilience at the September 11 Memorial Plaza in New York City. The tree is a Callery pear tree found in the rubble of the World Trade Center following the attacks on September 11, 2001.
Severely damaged, with roots severed and branches burned and broken, the tree was carefully nursed back to health by horticulturists at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and replanted in the September 11 Memorial Plaza two years later.
Today, the tree stands tall and serves as a living reminder of the resilience and perseverance of the human spirit. The tree has become an iconic symbol of hope and rebirth and is a popular destination for visitors to the memorial.
9/11 Tribute Museum
The 9/11 Tribute Museum, formerly known as the 9/11 Tribute Center, was a museum located near the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, New York City.
The museum was dedicated to preserving the memory of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and educating visitors about their impact on the world.
The museum featured a variety of exhibits, artifacts, and personal stories from survivors, first responders, and victims’ family members. However, the 9/11 Tribute Museum was permanently closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Koenig’s Sphere is a large metallic sculpture that was once located in the plaza of the World Trade Center in New York City. The sculpture was created by artist Fritz Koenig and was originally commissioned in 1969 as a symbol of world peace through world trade.
Following the 9/11 attacks, Koenig’s Sphere was recovered from the rubble of the World Trade Center and has since been installed at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. The sculpture was damaged in the attacks but has been partially restored and now serves as a memorial to the victims of the attacks.
Why was the 9/11 memorial built?
The 9/11 Memorial was built to honor and remember the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks that took place in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. The Memorial serves as a symbol of resilience and hope, and provides a space for visitors to reflect on the impact of the attacks and remember those who were lost.
When did 9/11 museum open?
The Museum officially opened on May 21, 2014, with a ceremony on May 15, 2014, attended by President Barack Obama, survivors of the September 11 attacks, family members and other dignitaries.
The opening of the museum marked an important milestone in the ongoing effort to honor and remember the victims of the September 11 attacks, as well as the many others who risked their lives in the rescue and recovery efforts.
How many pools are at the 911 Memorial?
There are two pools at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. Each pool is approximately one acre in size and is located in the footprints of the original Twin Towers. The pools feature cascading waterfalls that flow into a central void, creating a peaceful and reflective atmosphere.
How deep is the memorial?
The pools at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City are approximately 30 feet (9 meters) deep. The pools were designed to match the depth of the original foundations of the Twin Towers, which were approximately 70 feet (21 meters) deep. The pools are lined with a special material to prevent leaks, and the water that flows into the pools is recirculated to minimize water usage.
How long to visit the memorial and museum?
Most visitors to the museum and memorial spend at least 1-3 hours exploring the exhibits and paying their respects.
The 9/11 Memorial Pools, while simpler in design than the museum, are equally moving and impactful. Visitors often spend time walking around the perimeter of the pools, taking in the names of the victims inscribed on the bronze panels and observing the waterfalls and reflecting pools.
The museum is a comprehensive and emotional experience that can take several hours to fully appreciate. Visitors can explore the various exhibits and artifacts at their own pace, and may choose to take a guided tour to gain additional insight and context.
Tours of the 9/11 Memorial
There are several tour options you can take inside the museum and monument. You can see the most preferred options below.
- 9/11 Memorial Guided Tour: This 60-minute tour is led by a member of the 9/11 Memorial staff and provides visitors with an overview of the history and significance of the 9/11 Memorial Pools. The tour includes information about the design of the pools, the placement of the names on the bronze panels, and the symbolism of the trees and waterfalls.
- 9/11 Memorial and Museum Guided Tour: This 2-hour tour includes a guided visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum, as well as a tour of the 9/11 Memorial Pools. The tour is led by a trained guide who provides visitors with additional context and insight into the events of 9/11, the artifacts and exhibits in the museum, and the design of the memorial.
How to get to 9/11 Memorials in NY?
The museum is located at the World Trade Center site. And there are several ways to get to the 9/11 Memorials in New York City:
- Subway: The 9/11 Memorial is located near several subway stations, including the Cortlandt Street Station (N, R, W trains), the World Trade Center Station (E train), and the Fulton Street Station (A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4, 5 trains). From these stations, it’s just a short walk to the 9/11 Memorial.
- Bus: Several bus routes also stop near the 9/11 Memorial, including the M5, M20, and M22 buses. Check the MTA website for more information on bus schedules and routes.
- Ferry: Visitors can also take the Staten Island Ferry to Battery Park and walk to the 9/11 Memorial. Alternatively, the World Financial Center Ferry Terminal is located nearby and provides additional ferry options.
- Walking: For those staying in Lower Manhattan, walking to the 9/11 Memorial is a convenient option. The Memorial is located in the heart of the Financial District and is easily accessible on foot.
There are several parking options near the 9/11 Memorials in New York if you would like to drive your own car, but it is important to note that parking in this part of the city can be limited and expensive. Here are some options to consider:
- Brookfield Place Parking Garage: This parking garage is located at 225 Liberty Street, just a few blocks from the 9/11 Memorial. Rates start at $25 for up to 3 hours and go up to $65 for up to 24 hours.
- Battery Parking Garage: This parking garage is located at 70 Greenwich Street, about a 10-minute walk from the 9/11 Memorial. Rates start at $10 for up to 1 hour and go up to $52 for up to 24 hours.
- Icon Parking: There are several Icon Parking garages located throughout Lower Manhattan, including several within a few blocks of the 9/11 Memorial. Prices and availability vary depending on the location and time of day.
- Street Parking: There is limited street parking available in the area, though it can be difficult to find and may be subject to restrictions and time limits.
However, be sure to do your own research before using these parking lots.
Visiting the 9/11 Memorial in New York City is a powerful and emotional experience that offers visitors an opportunity to pay their respects to the victims of the 9/11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
In addition to the pools, the National September 11th Memorial Museum offers a comprehensive and emotional experience that can take several hours to fully appreciate.
While the experience of visiting the 9/11 Memorial can be emotional and challenging, it is also a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of coming together in times of tragedy.