Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ground Zero Revisited

I wanted to see the progress being made at Ground Zero, the name now associated with the 16 acres of the former World Trade Center complex which was destroyed by a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.  Progress on rebuilding has been slow due to many controversies through the years, from building designs, insurance disputes, types and placement of the memorials and museum, and safety issues.  To many families and friends of the victims killed in the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers this land is viewed as a sacred graveyard, as the remains of many of those killed were never found. There is a great emotional component that had to be considered before any decision was made towards redevelopment. 

(all photos in this post can be enlarged by clicking on them)

This view and the one above it were  taken from Church Street.  You can see the construction fence which surrounds the entire site and which also shows murals of the plans for future construction.  As you can see by the giant construction cranes at work, building of Towers Three and Four are in progress. The red beamed building in the rear is the construction of Tower One -- The Freedom Tower.  The largest building on the right is the first building completed, this is the replacement for the former World Trade Center Tower 7.

Walking down Church Street I passed Saint Paul's Chapel, also know as "The Little Chapel That Stood," as it survived the collapse of the Twin Towers, even though it is located across the street from the complex. 
As you can read on this sign on the chapel's fence St. Paul's is famous for many reasons.  You can read more about St. Paul's in this post I wrote in 2008, which also shows many of the toiching memorials that were inside the church at that time.

This is the new World Trade Center 7.  It is 52 stories tall and built on a smaller footprint than the original building.  The new building is bounded by Greenwich, Vesey, Washington, and Barclay streets.  It was completed in 2006.  My husband worked for a company that was located in the original World Trade Center 7, and although no one from that building was killed that fateful day they saw much of the destruction and carnage.

At this point I walked toward The World Financial Center located on West Street between Liberty and Vesey Streets and entered The Winter Garden.

The Winter Garden is a 10-story glass-vaulted pavilion in the World Financial Center. It houses various trees and flowers, restaurants and shops. The rear of the building opens onto the World Financial Center Plaza and the North Cove Yacht Harbor on the Hudson River.

The panoramic windows of The Winter Garden that face West Street has the best views of Ground Zero, as it is elevated above the construction fence.

The photos above and below are the views of Ground Zero's construction as seen from The Winter Garden windows. 

The photos below show various views of  the World Trade Center Tower One, also known as The Freedom Tower. Designed by Daniel Libeskind, the building went through many revisions, largely because of disagreements with developer Larry Silverstein, who held the lease to the World Trade Center site on September 11, 2001. The New York City Police department also voiced security issues regarding the original building plans and they had to be revised again to add a 187 foot concrete base.

If you click to enlarge the photo mosaic above and look at the bottom middle photo you can see across Ground Zero to see St. Paul's Chapel.  The photo in the bottom lower right was taken from North End Ave and Vesey Street looking at the elevated walkway that allows pedestrians to walk over West Street and past the Freedom Tower construction site towards Church Street.

This photo mosaic shows the murals on the Ground Zero construction fence of The Freedom Tower, one of the reflection pool Memorials which will be built in the footprints of each prior Twin Tower building, and the new Train Transportation Hub.

You can enlarge this map that was on an information booth that shows the location of the World Trade center complex in lower Manhattan and also the way the site looked before September 11 and what it will look like when completed.  More information about the future World Trade Center can be found on the official web site.

Another portion of the information booth showed the future views of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.  The Memorials will consist of two massive pools set within the original footprints of the Twin Towers with 30-foot waterfalls cascading down the sides. The names of the 2,980 innocent victims killed in the attacks in New York City, at the Pentagon outside Washington D.C and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, will be inscribed around the edges of the waterfalls.

The Memorial Museum will display artifacts associated with the events of September 11.  In my prior blog post I showed The World Trade Center Cross, which was a 20 foot cross shaped beam that came from the fallen towers and which became a symbol of hope and healing at the Ground Zero construction site for many years.  It is now in a local church yard until it can be placed in the future museum.

Different projections have been made of when the new World Trade Center will be completed, ranging anywhere from 2013 to 2018. I'll be revisiting the construction site from time to time to record the progress. 

Every time I look at the New York City skyline I still find it hard to believe that the Twin Towers are no longer there and I look forward to the day when the new complex is completed, and that the site will, in the words of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, "..bear witness to the attacks, commemorate those who risked their lives to save others, and recognize the thousands who survived and reflect upon the unity and compassion shown in the aftermath."

I'm adding this post to Mary of The Little Red House blog's "Mosaic Monday" event.  Please visit Mary's blog and see her photo mosaic and links to all the other blogs who are participating in her event. Thanks Mary!

Bookmark and Share


Annesphamily said...

I still have a postcard that my late Aunt Mary sent my family when I was a kid. She sent us a postcard of the Twin Towers when they were brand new. It is postmarked and I have always treasured that postcard. I appreciate your updates here and all the lovely photos and the story behind all this. You are a good person Pat & remarkable woman keeping us informed. It is a pleasure to know you.

GardenofDaisies said...

Thank you for sharing this Pat. It is good to see new life coming to Ground Zero. Also glad that they are building the memorial waterfall to remember those who so tragically lost their lives that day.

Joanne Kennedy said...

Well this post brought back a lot of memories from when I was there last year. I went to the church and spent a long long time there. Then I went out to the cemetery and finally sat down outside and just kept looking over at ground zero.

There is a feeling one gets there. It's hard to explain. Almost as if you can hear the voices of those who died there or something. I hated to leave.

My cousins daughter lives in New York and witnessed the towers being hit. She worked right there and was walking to work when it happened. She saw the people jump and even had to walk over bodies as she tried to make her way out of there.

Her company had to move and they just moved back to that area. It was so hard for her to go there. She almost quit her job because she didn't want to have to go back there.

She still has nightmares. There are so many like her. So many stories that can and have been told. So much that the world will never even know about.

I did find that when I asked directions on how to get to Ground Zero many people who lived in New York would tell me "You don't want to go there". Most people didn't want to even think about that day let alone talk about it.

I hope and pray that when the building is all finished it will bring peace to a lot of people and start making happy memories again.


Lily Hydrangea said...

Thank you for such a good post & pictures Pat. I too still find it hard to believe the towers are missing from our skyline. When I lived on Thompson Street in the Village I used to see them standing there at the end of my street everyday as I rounded the corner walking home from work. They loomed high above all the rest of the buildings in lower Manhattan leaving quite an impression. The towers always looked different depending on the weather, the time of year or day or even how many lights were on. Some nights there would be lots of lights on & others there would be less. I always enjoyed seeing the windows lit up in the evening.
Just today I was reminiscing with my nephew about how we used to sit on the fire escape and look at them together.
He was so young at the time, & he still remembers them.
The world seemed so different then.

Old Kitty said...


Oh the Little Chapel that Stood. Oh my. Such a tiny church dwarfed by these huge skyscrapers and yet with the biggest heart!

It's an amazing symbol of hope and courage and community. I love the story of the tree that saved the church. I'm so glad the remains of the tree has been given due recognition! Fantastic stuff.

I'm so glad that the passion showed by the people of New York and especially those who have lost loved ones during 9/11 have made architects, designers, planners and all the bureaucratic machine take notice of their wishes. What emerges from these ruins should always be in remembrance to lost loved ones as well as a positive testament to the unique spirit of New Yorkers

Thanks for a fantastic and reflective piece.

Take care

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend lost her son that day...........she has never recovered.

Riet said...

What a beautiful and interesting post Pat. It is good that life is going on on ground zero but memories will always stay. That is good.Thank you for keeping us informed about all that in going on and I am sure everybody wants to know.

Gracie said...

Thanks for the update of the works in progress....too sad to think about it, still, hope never fades away, right?
I just love that winter garden....

diane said...

Thanks for keeping me up to date with the progress. We don't hear much about it here.

Debbie said...

I am sure being a NY veteran it is difficult for many, always a constant reminder of that most horrible day. We visited the site last year, and it is sad. Thanks for all the details it is nice to hear and update!~

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Pat, The wintergarden looks lovely, but then I thought that the original towers were lovely too. I remember having lunch in the lower level right after the restaurant was built and marveling at how different and unique it was. I walked through there every day when I went to work. I had my ears double pierced down there when I was 20....I will always have trouble thinking of it as ground zero...I wish they would name it something else. Great post.
♥, Susan

Sea Witch said...

Sis and I visited Ground Zero several years ago and it was St. Paul's that was the most emotional. You cannot walk through that lovely little chapel without feeling the presence of the lost innocents. Sea Witch

Allie and Pattie said...

As I've mentioned, Pat, it was 14 funerals for our family. I am pleased to see life returning to the area. I don't think any of those who died would have wanted to let those terrorists feel they "won" and destroyed us. But a piece of our hearts will be forever missing. Thank you
xoxo Pattie

Vee said...

A wonderful addition to Mary's Mosaic Monday. Your blog is the only place that I've seen any of the progress going on, albeit complicated and slow progress. Thank you for all you do. NYC should hire you as their blog ambassador!

Oliag said...

It is amazing how many old snapshots I have with the twin towers in the certainly is hard to believe they are gone...It is also sad at how long it has been taking for some agreement on the re-building...I hope it ends up truly great...

Thanks for the wonderful tour Pat!

32˙North said...

I had no idea construction was this far along. Thank you for bringing me up to date.

Anonymous said...


Thank you very much for sharing those photographs with us. As a New Yorker it must be hard for you to visit the area. It is a place I would love to visit but don't think I ever will, I will have to see it through your eyes. The Church proves how strong it is to still be standing and to be a peaceful reflective place for visitors. I am looking forward to seeing the memorial and Museum as a place to remember all those people who lost their lives on 9/11 and for those still suffering due to the loss of a family members and friends. God Bless America.
Jackie in UK.

Jojo said...

Thank you for your wonderful post and your message for my friend Lou! It will mean so much to her to know that prayers are being sent her way.

That means a lot.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I haven't been keeping up with the progress lately on the site, but it used to be part of my beat when I was a reporter in the city. I'll never forget seeing the second plane crash into the building. what a horrible horrible time for so many people.

Anonymous said...

What a fascinating post Pat. I can't believe that little church and all it's been witness to. Amazing images! ~jeanne

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I'm glad to see it moving along, Pat. It still makes me so sad. My husband lost a business partner in the tower colapse. I just feel for all of the people who lost loved ones. Sigh. But it's great to think things will some day be better.

Thanks for sharing...



happily retired gal said...

Thanks so much for sharing these images and the information here. I've not been to New York City since October of 2003 so it good to see the changes since then.
Hugs and blessings,

The Gathering Place said...

I always feel sad that I never got to see the towers and now I never will. Thank you for sharing the pictures of the site now.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Thank you all for your heartfelt comments. I am so sorry and sad for anyone who lost someone that fateful day. We knew a few people who were killed on 9-11 but thankfully we did not lose any family members.

I always try to honor the innocent people who perished on that fateful day and remember them.
All of America can never forget! I hope that the memorials and museum at the new site will help everyone do that.

We all have to hope and pray that it never happens again!

Sue said...

Hi Pat....Nice to see some progress being made...I haven't been down there since a week after 9/11.....A site I will never forget....About a month before 9/11 we were down taking pictures and I wandered into the little cemetary in front of the church....
I took a picture and a short time after 9/11 I came across the picture and got chills when I saw what one of the headstones said....
"They are at peace"......A very strange experiance.

M.Kate said...

Hi ya Pat, firstly I noticed you have the D60 camera - great we have the same make though not same model :) But it does take fantastic photos as seen in all your beautiful pics here. It's good to read about the rebuilding and much enjoyed reading everything here. Have a blessed week ahead Pat, sorry I have been so slow in blog land...I am out of the office most of the time..I dont even visit my own blog mostly. Love ya ;)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Thanks Pat for doing this post. I know that there is alot of pain for fellow New Yorkers --when it comes to that senseless tragedy. I have never been there --but have read and heard alot about Ground Zero---and what they are doing and have done. It will be such a great tribute to those who died, once it is totally completed. Thanks again for sharing this. Your photos are amazing.

I love that little chapel---and cannot believe that it was spared. Wow!!!


Yellow Rose Arbor said...

Very interesting! The Little Chapel still standing is incredible! The photography, especially the winter garden is beautiful! Thanks for the tour and all the information.


Ebie said...

Thanks for the comprehensive post and extensive pictures. I have worked in the area many moons ago before relocating to Los Angeles. The streets are still familiar names.
9/11 was really a tragedy.
We are planning to visit Ground Zero in the near future.

Kimberly said...

The church is so beautiful!

Thanks for showing us the progress...that is amazing!

RNSANE said...

Thank you for this pictoral update on Ground Zero. I, of course, didn't have a dry eye when I finished reading it and seeing the site. That day, for me, will never leave my mind. I did a poem a year after the horrible event, called "In Remembrance" and I sobbed the entire time I was writing it.

Junie Moon said...

I'm pleased that construction efforts are taking into consideration the emotional heartache associated with the whole tragedy. "The Little Church that Stood" is such a hopeful symbol.

My name is PJ. said...

This was a post ripe with hope and renewal! Very spring like! I thank you so much for heading over there so you could shoot all these beautiful pictures.

My heart hurts when I look at it all and I'm glad it does. I don't ever want to forget the horror of 9/11.

Anonymous said...

It's good to see what the memorial and museum will look like. I had no idea.

Thanks for sharing progress on the building site. It is going to be different from when I visited and went up one of the towers.

PEA said...

How wonderful to be able to see through your pictures what is being done at Ground Zero. I hadn't realized that they had already built some buildings there, all I had heard was that a park had been decided on as a memorial where the twin towers had been. I love the idea of the two pools, it will look beautiful when it's all done. I don't think any of us will ever forget that day. xoxo