New York a trip to the 911 memorial garden and museum

Posted on: October 2nd, 2019

We recently visited the most beautiful 911 memorial gardens. We had arranged a tour with a guide who really brought the whole meaning of the gardens to life. 

The centre of the garden is two large square pools which are on the inside footprint of the towers. The water cascades downwards and the end of the water cannot be seen. Above them are metal panels into which the names of the victims are cut out. The temperature of the panels are regulated to ensure they are never too hot to touch on a hot day or to allow snow to lay on them in winter. White roses are placed in the name of the person whose birthday it would have been to continue to commemorate them. 

The outline of the outside footprint of the building are beautiful oak trees, all grown locally. The height and size of the trees have been specifically chosen to provide a canopy around the pools and much needed shade from the hot summer sun. 

In my opinion it is a beautiful garden designed by a young man from New York in the days immediately after the atrocity. His response in design terms is simple and very effective. The space, even on a very busy August day, is calm, serene and peaceful. A place to reflect and remember.

We then visited the museum itself. From the outside it is designed to look like a collapsing building made from glass. There is airport style security as you enter and then the spaces open up in front of you as you journey down through the building. There are many artifacts from the attack on display and they range from the last remaining steel girder, a damaged fire engine and lift motors. You also see poignant missing person posters from the days afterwards when people were frantically trying to find their loved ones.

There is a beautiful area in memorial where you see images of the victims and hear a loved one talking about their family member in tribute. It is a special place which brings together people from all around the world, everyone knows where they were when they heard the news. We can all remember how it affected us. We can only begin to imagine how it affected those involved.

As we left the museum we visited the recently opened building designed superbly by Santiago Calatrava. The space is a transport hub for commuters coming into the city with many thousands passing through the space every day. It is in the shape of a dove. The central eye part opens once a year at the time the attack took place until the time the towers fell and ensures the space is filled with light, a light which darkness cannot put out. Very poignant and very beautiful.