National September 11th Memorial - 2011

After two months of waiting for the date of our reservation to arrive, Andy and I went last Friday to survey the progress on the 9/11 Memorial.  The experience was moving, impressive and well managed.  After being asked by seven (7) different attendants for our proof of reservation and I.D. along the maze of stanchioned entry paths, we arrived at the airport-style security room.
The line moved quickly (it was raining) and we were granted access to the parts of the memorial park that are currently finished.  Immediately we entered the Memorial Plaza near a nice, open, deconstructed sort of lawn which, once the park is open to the surrounding streets, will be a very tempting natural lunch spot.

Then we wandered over to the South Reflecting Pool.  One of two which sit in the footprints of the old towers, these pools are more beautiful and awe-inspiring than any of the renderings had me believing.  They are truly vast (about an acre each), and their architectural simplicity and impressive scale eventually quiet the mind of the visitor while the considerable sound of 52 gallons of water per second falling from the  country's largest engineered waterfalls totally blocks out the sounds of the surrounding city.

The names of those killed in the attacks of September 11 and 1993 are cut in bronze and circle the pools.

The Memorial Plaza is one of the greenest ever designed, and on the surface that translates to lots and lots of trees.  Swamp White Oaks blanket the majority of the site, the Grove selected individually from trees in a 500-mile radius of the site.  They will turn color and grow at different rates.

The Museum Pavilion is a beautiful structure (under construction) which sits between the North and South Pools.

Inside it are (barely visible here in a yellowish hue) two massive tridents from the twin towers.

Work continues on the north-east corner of the Grove, on and under which will be the huge new Transit Hub.

Should look something like this, eventually . . .
The North Pool sits at the base of One World Trade Center, which when finished will be the tallest building in the hemisphere.  Here the considerable blast walls are as yet unhidden by the glass curtain wall to come . . .

Having seen the majority of the site, we headed back through the plaza past the Survivors' Tree, a Callery Pear that barely survived being burnt and crushed, and now shows 10 years of new growth above it's scars.

In all the site is still a working construction site, surrounded on all sides by unrealized plans, cavernous holes, miles of fence and thousands of workers.  Still, the bold design, the attention to detail, and the absolutely brilliant craftsmanship of what has been completed offer assurance that the whole of this Memorial Plaza will be a national treasure.  I look forward to the Museum and Transit Hub excitedly.

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