LOCATION: World Trade Center. New York City, NY
This is part of my NYC Christmas Trip series. This is the start of the series.
Only a few people can say they’ve been to every stage of the World Trade Center, and I can proudly say I’m one of them. I first visited the World Trade Center in 2000 when I went to NYC for the first time with a high school drama group. We went to the top and looked out on the views of Manhattan. Little did I know that just a year later, that view would only be a memory. The second time I visited the World Trade Center was in 2004 when they were doing clean up. All that was left was a massive hole and rumble from the site. There was an emptiness in Tribeca that was sorely felt. This year, the World Trade Center opened up their memorial. Seeing pictures of the fountains and how they celebrated it, I knew I had to see it in person.
A month before heading to NYC, I looked up the memorial website. Tickets were limited, free and on a certain time for the public to use. They also sold out quickly, but I was able to get a few for Troy and me.
Troy and I were only going to NYC for 24 hours. Insane, I know. We were flying in around 10am and flying out at 2pm the next day. We planned to run around the city doing all the normal tourist things in that time. Our first stop would be the WTC memorial. Our flight from Baltimore to La Guardia was delayed due to fog. We had timed tickets to the WTC for 1pm and we didn’t even get out of the airport until noon. We took a shuttle that was supposed to take us to our hotel, so we told them we were staying at a hotel in Tribeca. Once dropped off, we had about 10 minutes to make it to the memorial site in time for our barcodes to work to get in. WE RAN. Troy was much fast, but didn’t know the directions, so I’m running behind saying “TURN LEFT” “NOW TURN RIGHT.” It was very amusing after the fact. With literally 1 minute to spare, we made it to the memorial and were able to make our 1pm time slot.
Once inside, we had to walk various walkways and through 3 security lines to get inside. The area was still under construction. The towers were still being made as well as the museum, but the fountains were complete. They were the most beautiful display for a memorial that I’ve ever seen. An endless pool to mimic where the towers would have been and stone around the edges etched with everyone’s names who perished that day. The place was eerily quiet and the sounds of the fountain seemed to echo everywhere. It was breathtaking, something a memorial should be like.
I plan on going back once the final phase is finished. They expect to have 5 or 6 buildings, the museum, the memorial and a grand central station type transportation hub in place by the time it is all said and done. Truly a remarkable change from something that really united all of us together.
* Thank you Troy for accompanying me on this adventure, being the biggest supporter in what I do and always being there to take the pictures for me.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?: Yes, this memorial was amazing!
HOW TO DO THIS: Visitor passes are free, but are on a reservation basis and are sold out weeks in advance. Go to http://www.911memorial.org/ for information on getting a pass.