“ Address: New York / New York / USA „
The Tribute Center for the World Trade Center disaster is located right on the periphery of 'Ground Zero', next door to Engine and Ladder 10's Firehouse of the New York Fire Department. It is very easily located. If you visit 'Ground Zero', then you will see it is a big square, just follow the square around and when you see a Firehouse with 2 great big red machines, you are right by the center.
When you enter the center, there is a very small gift shop on the left hand side and a till directly in front of you. I cannot remember how much it cost to enter the center, but I don't remember thinking that it was expensive and as all the proceeds go to the victims of the disaster, I had no problem with paying.
After paying, you walk a few yards and there is a large projection onto a wall of the day and clean up/recovery after the event playing. It is a very moving video. The sound from this is fed through speakers on this floor, so you don't have to watch it to hear it.
Situated on this floor are various pieces of history on the Twin Towers, through the building of them and occupancy afterwards. As you continue onwards through the center, you then start to see lots, and I mean lots, of letters and missing posters that were dotted around Manhattan after September 11th. These are very moving and can be quite distressing for some.
Then, you notice various pieces of debris recovered from the site. Parts of the airplanes, melted sunglasses, pieces of vehicles, etc. The most moving part for me was seeing a Firefighters turnout coat and helmet. The damage to these items was very shocking and made me hope the firefighter wearing them died instantly, as opposed to suffering. There is a small plaque with the gear stating the firefighter did die. All the items have plaques describing what they are and how they were found.
When you get to the far end of this room, all the names of the victims are displayed on the walls. There are some steps here to go downstairs for the rest of the center.
Downstairs, it is more to do with the clean up and what various services were provided after it all happened. You could also write a small note and leave it in a box to be put on a wall down here at a later date. Some of the notes left can be quite moving. Toilets are also located down here.
Dotted around the center at various points are tissue boxes, which can be very handy. If you are an emotional person, then be prepared to cry. I am not an emotional person at all. You could describe me as a stone with emotions, yet I shed a few tears while inside. It is very moving and very well done.
I don't remember seeing a lift anywhere or ramp to get downstairs, so that could be a problem if you rely on one of them.
If you visit New York, you need to visit this center to see what happened and how it affected people. If they do the permanant tribute as good as this, they will have honoured the victims.
Going to a tribute to honour an event where thousands of people lost their lives might not be everyone's idea of a good way to spend their honeymoon. However everything about 9/11 moved me, as it did a lot of people, and so when we went to New York we couldn't not go.
We got on the subway (C line to Chambers Street) and it was just a small distance from there. We walked past Ground Zero, the place where the twin towers used to stand and where they are now rebuilding, and eerie is the only word I can use to describe the atmosphere. The workmen were going about their business and it was a strange feeling knowing that those towers I'd seen so often on TV used to be right there. It was hard to even imagine what it must have been like on that day, seeing so many people losing their lives as the buildings collapsed. As you can probably tell, I was emotional before I even got to the tribute.
The World Trade Centre Tribute offers visitors a personal insight to what happened that day, with guided tours, pictures, personal stories and artefacts for those who "want to understand and appreciate these historic events with those who experienced them".
The tribute itself was just opposite the site where the WTC would have been, and it cost $10 each to gain admission. They offered guided tours led by volunteers who had personally been affected by September 11th, be it a survivor, rescuer or someone who'd lost a loved one. We personally decided to do it in our own time and so opted out of the guided tour.
As you walk in there were huge boards with writing and pictures on, firstly talking about The WTC as is should be remembered; a bustling community, and a great place to work. I found this section particularly informative as I didn't really know much about the building itself and what went on inside there. It was nice to see what kinds of people worked there and the sense of community was evident.
As we walked further down the timeline of the events was laid out, interspersed with quotes from loved ones, rescuers and victims. I found reading the quotes from those who received phone calls from trapped loved ones particularly harrowing. As a newlywed, and a soon to be first time mum, I could only imagine how horrifying it must have been to watch the incidents unfold on TV, knowing that your husband, wife, son, daughter or friend was trapped inside there. This is when the emotion started to get to me and I was glad of the tissues that were strategically places throughout the exhibit.
The tribute went on to show artefacts that were found amongst the rubble, an aeroplane window, a teddy, and a fireman's torn jacket amongst many others. Seeing these items really made the enormity of what happened hit home. Seeing people's personal belongings just made it all the more poignant and emotional.
There were also personal audio stories that people could listen to by survivors, telling us what the WTC meant to them and how September 11th affected them personally.
There were also sections on the rescue effort which gave me an even greater respect for those who helped try and find survivors. We heard stories from those who were volunteering, knowing they could find remainders of their loved ones there amongst the rubble.
The final section showed personal tributes to those who died that day. This again brought home the impact that the events that day had on families. It was particularly upsetting to read the tributes done by children for their parents, I was in floods of tears by this point and I wasn't the only one. My husband admitted to being particularly moved by a letter written by a young girl to her father, a fireman who died trying to save others.
Despite the obvious sadness, the tribute also focused on the sense of community that emerged after that day; how New York became united in their grief. The city came together to grieve and the tribute showed pictures and collages done by school children highlighting that they would never forget those who perished that day.
What I couldn't help but notice is how respectful and dignified the whole thing was, there was no apportioning of blame, no bitterness, only sadness and regret.
The only negative thing, and this is in no way a reflection on the tribute itself, were some of the visitors' lack of respect, not so much inside, but outside where the towers once stood. Whilst most people were quiet and respectful, there were some who didn't seem to realise that this was the spot where people lost their lives, where families lost loved ones. We saw one bunch of tourists posing for photos in front of ground zero grinning with their thumbs up and laughing and joking. Perhaps that was just me being oversensitive but I thought it showed a lack of respect.
It's worth noting that it can become quite busy so it might be worth getting there early.
For those who are interested, the tribute also has it's own website, with information on what they do, directions and a sample of what you can expect to see when you get there. I personally think it's worth a look whether you're thinking of going or not.
I would definitely recommend visitors to New York going to this tribute. It is hugely moving and well worth the $10 admission fee.
~ Visitor Information ~
Tribute WTC Visitor Center
120 Liberty Street
NY, NY 10006
Hours of Operation:
Monday: 10am - 6pm
Tuesday: 12pm - 6pm
Wednesday - Saturday 10am - 6pm
Sunday 12pm - 5pm
The centre offers visitors to the World Trade Center (WTC) site - a place where they can connect with people from the September 11th community.