New York Attractions – Ground Zero
One attraction that we wish we never had is New York’s Ground Zero; site of the former World Trade Center towers, which were destroyed by terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The 110-story twin towers were a popular tourist attraction before 9/11 – since then it has been a place of solemn remembrance, even more since the opening of the World Trade Center Memorial in September, 2011, ten years after the devastating attacks.
The World Trade Center site and the area surrounding it was first referred to as “ground zero” by New York hospital workers and police officers in the days following the attacks and soon became the commonly-used “nickname” for the location throughout the world. It took eight months to clear the site of debris; during that time, a platform was constructed that allowed the public visiting it a view of the site and the cleanup work and the work that began on rebuilding at the site. Ten years after the attacks, several new skyscrapers at the site have been completed and others are still under construction. The building that will be erected at One World Trade Center will be 1368 feet (417 m) high – the same height as the north tower of the original building; an antenna on the top will bring the height to 1776 feet (541 m), a symbolic nod to 1776, the year of the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
World Trade Center Memorial
The official World Trade Center memorial – known as the 9/11 Memorial – was dedicated on September 11, 2011 at a ceremony for the victims’ families. The 9/11 Memorial opened to the public the next day. Located at the site of the former complex, the 9/11 Memorial has two waterfalls and reflecting pools set at the “footprint” location of the twin towers. The 9/11 Memorial Museum is scheduled to open in September 2012.
To visit, you have to get a (free) pass in advance, which can be reserved online at www.911memorial.org. When visiting, you can see the names of each of the nearly 3000 victims of the September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Flight 93 inscribed on bronze panels lining the two reflecting pools.
The memorial is a place for remembrance and reflection. It is open seven days a week. You can get to it easily on public transportation as it is near a number of subway and bus lines. Plan your visit by going to the official website, where you’ll find exact opening and closing times and other helpful information.
A Unique Perspective
If you’re unable to get an advance pass to the World Trade Center Memorial or a visit to Ground Zero isn’t an option during your stay in New York, you can still “visit” there from the unique vantage point of a helicopter tour. Helicopter New York City helicopter tours offer 3 New York helicopter tours, which last from 12-30 minutes, and each one includes the site in its itinerary. Flying over the memorial is a one-of-a-kind experience of this solemn location, and the only way to see the World Trade Center Memorial in this way is on a helicopter tour.