There are three venues in New York City to help the public connect with the World Trade Center site and the memories of September 11, 2001.
Tribute WTC Visitor Center
The Tribute WTC Visitor Center (120 Liberty St., on the southern end of the WTC site, 866/737-1184, www.tributewtc.org, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m., gallery admission $10, tour $10) is the main visitor site with over a million visitors to date. The Center is run by the September 11th Families Association.
Moving exhibits include artifacts (including steel from the building and the window frame from one of the airplanes), photos, and audio stories spread over five galleries in a relatively tight space. The exhibit allows visitors to get to see what the WTC was like before the 9/11 attacks, as well as learn personal stories from those affected by 9/11.
The center also provides guided tours around the perimeter of the WTC site led by volunteers connected to the 9/11 events.
Hope & Healing at Ground Zero”
Historic St. Paul’s Chapel (209 Broadway at Fulton St., 212/233-4164, www.saintpaulschapel.org, free), one of Manhattan’s oldest buildings, played an important role on in the recovery efforts on September 11 and the months that followed. It now hosts the exhibit “Unwavering Spirit.”
This simple exhibit provides a moving memorial to the events of 9/11. Because of its location, St. Paul’s served as a sanctuary and refuge providing food, drinks, rest, and medical assistance to the rescue workers in the days and months following 9/11.
This warm chapel feels like you are walking into this piece of history, not merely reading about it. The firefighter’s jacket still resting on a pew and the cot set in the main hall attest to the active role this space played. A brief video anthology provides the moving backdrop to the artifacts on display.
The combination of St. Paul’s historic stature and its current vitality is demonstrated in the roped off section around George Washington’s pew. During the recovery effort, the pew was used as a podiatry station for rescue workers.
The small cemetery in front of the chapel provides the perfect space for personal reflection, looking out onto the WTC site.
The 9/11 Memorial Preview Site
The 9/11 Memorial Preview Site (20 Vesey St. at Church St., 212/267-2047, www.national911memorial.org, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Wed. and Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Thurs., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun., free) gallery provides an overview of the future National September 11 Memorial and Museum. You can watch the current construction work on live streaming video and take a video tour of upcoming exhibits.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition