The World Trade Center site is being transformed into a permanent memorial to the 9/11 attackes entitled Reflecting Absence, as well as a functional major office and visitor building called the Freedom Tower.
The events of September 11, 2001, will never be forgotten by the people of New York City or America as a whole. The nature of the terrorist attacks on that day and the brave response of the heroes of New York City's Police and Fire Departments clearly showed, in one day, the very worst and very best aspects of humanity. If you visit New York City, take a break from the big, brassy tourist attractions that embody the city and visit the World Trade Center site, also commonly known as New York Ground Zero, at the corners of Liberty and Church streets in lower Manhattan.
Visitors can currently find the Tribute Center at 120 Liberty Street, where there is a gallery, information, tours, and a chance to reflect upon the tragedies of 9/11 and the World Trade Center bombing on February 26, 1993, in which six people were killed and more than 1,000 injured. The Tribute Center forms a temporary memorial at the World Trade Center, often referred to as Ground Zero, during the construction of the permanent 9/11 Memorial. Of the New York City tours you experience, this may be the most important. Although vastly different from any other experience you will have during your New York City vacation, a trip to the World Trade Center site is a powerful, moving piece of history that should not be missed. For a moving New York City day trip, visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty also as you head downtown. Visitors may wish to light a candle at Saint Patricks Cathedral for quiet reflection upon returning to Midtown Manhattan.
Looking to the future, the permanent Ground Zero Memorial, Reflecting Absence, will include the footprints of the former twin towers as recessed pools, with the largest manmade waterfalls in the country and the victims' names inscribed around the edges of the pools. The absence of the buildings that stood there, and the people who occupied them on that day, is obvious and not to be forgotten no matter the future rebuilding of the complex. Plant life and quiet public spaces will occupy the street level as a calm oasis amid the hustle of the financial district, and sweetgum trees—whose leaves will turn to red and gold around September 11—will be planted around the memorial grounds. Below the street level at the World Trade Center Memorial site will be the areas for more privtate reflection. The plan was chosen as the winner of an international competition for architects and is the work of New York City's own Michael Arad and Peter Walker.
The main office building that will stand elsewhere on the sixteen-acre site is called Freedom Tower, which will stand 1,776 feet high, an extremely tall addition to the New York City skyline. Its placement on the World Trade center site will be adjacent to the memorial site. The tower originally was planned to be much less traditional in its architecture, but is now planned to balance existing Manhattan skyscraper aspects with a stunning new design legacy of its own.
During the construction of the World Trade Center Memorial site and the commercial structures that will occupy the World Trade Center site, visitors to New York Ground Zero may come and see the progress of the World Trade Center Memorial site, and reflect on the dual purpose of this place: to move on with confidence, but never forget.