My cousin is in town from ATL. Since I was already running some errands in lower Manhattan, we stopped by the National September 11th Memorial and Museum per her request. I’ve purposefully avoided visiting because I know how I am.
I was standing at the site of the South Tower maybe 5 minutes before the tears started. I knew then that going to the museum wasn’t going to happen. All the feelings surrounding that day came rushing back to me.
My brother worked in one of the towers. Fortunately, he was on vacation leave at the time. My Mom works nearby and saw the planes crashing into the buildings from her office window. Several other family members and friends worked in that area as well. I, like many New Yorkers living away from home at the time, watched in horror as our city was attacked. Imagine being in college while your professor casually mentions the chaos that is happening in your hometown, then continues with the lecture. Imagine not knowing for several days if your family was alive or dead. Now, imagine being a slight emotional empath and walking into the site of such a big tragedy. Imagine waterfalls and reflecting pools being in a place where two large towers once were. Imagine reading all the names of the fallen. All. The. Feelings!
The last time I was in this area, I was in one of the towers that no longer exists.
Each morning, the memorial staff place a single white rose on the parapets (walls surrounding the reflective pools) to commemorate the birthdays of victims. There are birthdays on each day of the year and 10 on September 11th.
Though visiting is painful for me, I do think the memorial is absolutely gorgeous. Kudos to the architects and landscape designers for getting this one right. Under different circumstances, this may well be the most beautiful place in the city. There’s lots of greenspace and two reflecting pools. The air at the site somehow feels different from the rest of the city. For me, it’s a stark contrast feeling the weight of such an event in a place that is so light, airy, and fresh.
Admittedly, I’m not the biggest patriot. You won’t see me fanatically waving a flag and shouting ‘Murica! But I can’t help but feel a bit of pride when I see the newly finished Freedom Tower. Now America’s tallest building, it’s New York City’s ultimate screw you to the horrible people who attacked it almost 13 years ago.
If you’d like to visit the memorial (and museum), here’s some helpful info taken from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum website:
Open Daily, 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
9/11 Memorial Museum
May 21, 2014 – Sept. 21, 2014
Open Daily, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Last entry at 7 p.m.
Sept. 22, 2014 – Dec. 31, 2014
Open Daily, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Last entry at 6 p.m.
*Admission to the Museum is free for all visitors on Tuesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The last entry will be at 7 p.m. Tickets are available two weeks in advance.
How to get there (via subway): You’ve got several options, but maybe the best would be the Fulton Street station.
• A, C, 1, 2, 3 to Chambers Street
• A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4, or 5 trains to Fulton Street
• 2 or 3 trains to Park Place
• E train to World Trade Center
• R train to Rector Street
• R train to Cortlandt Street
• 1 train to Rector Street