As a Baby Boomer who grew up in the Tri-State area, I visited New York City countless times as a kid. Even living as an East Coast transplant in California for the past 30+ years I've managed to visit the city that never sleeps every year or so. In fact my last dose of Manhattan before the September 11, 2001 calamity was in August 2001, just about two weeks before the World Trade Center Twin Towers were brought down at the hands of terrorists.
|WTC Freedom Tower under construction, view from Subway exit|
My solo visit to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum -- which encompasses about 50% of the original 16-acre WTC site -- began with making an online reservation months before arrival to ensure a free admission ticket when I was in town for BlogHer 2012 women's blog conference in early August.
|Rainy day at the National September 11 Memorial, Museum in background|
|Rain drops dotted the engraved name plaques, reminiscent of tears|
Standing in the rain without an umbrella I wanted to absorb as much I could. In fact I was so immersed in the meaning of this place I didn't realize until after I'd left the site that the hairstyling I'd had just hours before at John Barrett's new Pony Tail Bar at Bergdorf Goodman was totally ruined. Life's luxuries certainly do seem trivial after an experience like this.
|Security here at the Memorial is tight, like elsewhere since 9/11|
|Old buildings remaining after 2001 are a stark contrast to the WTC site|
|The new tower in progress seems to defy barbed wire at its base|
The 9/11 Memorial named Reflecting Absence is comprised of two huge black, seemingly bottomless reflection pools designed by architect David Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker. The names of the 2,983 people whose lives were snatched in the 1993 and 2001 attacks are engraved in a meaningful order on bronze parapets that frame the top edges of the pools. There's even a free smartphone app called the 911 Memorial Guide that will help you fully appreciate the memorial area as well as aid you in locating a particular name on its walls.
|One of the two Reflecting Absence pools at National 9/11 Memorial|
Each of the reflection pools is massive, covering about an acre of ground with 30 foot waterfalls cascading down all sides. You can't see where the water finally disappears into an abyss at the bottom of the inner squares at the base of the pools. This represents an inner void that remains, a lasting and beautiful reminder of the lives gone forever and all the entombed human body parts that remain within.
Says Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the 9/11 Memorial Chairman, "The 9/11 Memorial serves as a beautiful place of reflection, a symbol of perseverance and a sacred site to remember the tragic events that occurred 11 years ago. With the help of millions of visitors and other supporters, we can ensure this national tribute will be here for generations to come."
|Follow the WTC complex construction site progress online at WTCProgress.com|
|Iconic New York skyline will soon have a new look, View from SoHo rooftop|
|The elegant National 9/11 Memorial Museum under construction|
|Under construction: Museum in foreground, Freedom Tower in back|
|Steel beam from original WTC as viewed through glass of new museum|
|Visitor Exit & ambulance remind you: For many there was no exit|
Saturday, September 10, 2011 – 9/11 National Day of Service & Remembrance
Sunday, September 11, 2011 – 10th Anniversary is Marked in Cities & Towns Across U.S.