One of the things I wanted to do while my sister was visiting, was go to the 9/11 Memorial. My first visit to Ground Zero was in 2007, and there was nothing more than a big hole at the site. You couldn’t really even see into the site because of the tall fence they had around it. There was visible construction and movement going on around the site but not in it. It was still extremely depressing to see. Over the past year I’ve been able to watch the progress of the site and buildings. It’s amazing how fast a tower can grown when they are set to get it done. When I was riding over the south side of the Manhattan Bridge last summer, I thought about stopping to take a picture once a week, (but never did it), because the tower was growing so fast.
When the memorial opened up last September, there was a rush for tickets to see it. I don’t often go down to the site or neighborhood, so I was excited to see the changes up close not from afar. I have several landscape architect friends who had their share of critiques on the site and project and was ready to see it for myself. And I hate to say, I was a bit disappointed. Maybe when all the work around the site is complete and it is open to the public instead of being walled in, it will feel a bit more grand, more like the renderings made you feel. It seemed really small and just not… monumental. Don’t get me wrong, the fountains were amazing and vast, but I didn’t really feel anything at the site. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but at prior visits to the site, when it was a vast hole, I would feel sorrow or pain or something being there. I understand that it is a extremely difficult task to design a memorial for thousands of people and I really hope when everything is done, this project evokes the kind of emotion I have walking by the Vietnam Memorial. I also wonder if it is more powerful seen from above, where you can see the entire site and the two empty tower locations.
Beyond the lack of emotion, the site was beautiful. When the trees are larger, it will be even better. I like the detail of the names carved in the bronze guardrails surrounding the fountains. Where the water spills over the top of the edge of the fountain, they have ribs to make it fall in gorgeous lines. Call me crazy, I love stuff like that.