The list of New York attractions is endless. A relatively new destination is the “September 11 Memorial & Museum”. It is dedicated to the nearly 3.000 people who died in the terrorist attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001. It was built on the site of the two skyscrapers of the WTC World Trade Center that collapsed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. The memorial not only commemorates those killed in the attacks, but also pays tribute to the survivors.
We got to know the 9/11 Memorial as part of an organized tour. This led from Cape Liberty Terminal to Memorial in the borough of Manhattan and then to Newark Liberty International Airport in the federal city of New Jersey, from where our return flight to Germany started. The tour consisted of several parts and a mixture of ferry ride and walk.
Stage 1 – Ride on the ferry
The coach transfer runs from the Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal to the Port Liberté Ferry Terminal, six miles away.
New Jersey - Port Liberte
This is followed by a comfortable and fast NY Waterway boat ride across to Manhattan. The ferry ride through Upper Bay also covers a distance of approximately six miles. The spectacular Manhattan skyline is always in view.
Statue of Liberty and Downtown Manhattan
As a bonus, Liberty Island with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with the Ellis Island Immigration Museum built in a kind of confectionery style are on the route. After a 20-minute ride, the ferry stops at Battery Park. There is hardly a faster way to get to the Financial District from New Jersey.
Statue of Liberty
Stage 2 – the Battery Park
Battery Park is an attractive park area on the southern tip of the Manhattan Peninsula. Even before docking, passengers can see the Castle Clinton National Monument, a former gun emplacement in front of Manhattan.
Battery Park - Castle Clinton
It secured the waterways around New York at the beginning of the 19th century. Today Castle Clinton is a museum. This is also where you can buy tickets for the ferries to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and see the cheeky squirrels that live in the park. Under Parks in Manhattan we dedicate ourselves to the park more intensively.
There is a memorial dedicated to the Korean Veterans in Battery Park. It's hard to miss. Even more striking is "The Sphere", a sculpture made up of 52 bronze segments by the German sculptor Fritz Koenig. It originally stood between the towers of the World Trade Center. It was badly damaged in the attacks. In March 2002, damaged as it was, it found a new home in Battery Park.
Battery Park - The Sphere
An "eternal" flame was installed in front of the Sphere to commemorate the victims. An eye-catcher is the "National Museum of the American Indian" located next to the park.
Manhattan - National Museum of the American Indian
Stage 3 - the Financial District
The following route takes us north up Broadway. Noteworthy is the building at number 25. It was the former headquarters of the Cunard Line. The 22-storey building dates from 1921. Today it is a listed building.
Opposite, at number 26 Broadway, stands the bronze sculpture "The Charging Bull", the symbol of the New York Stock Exchange. Many people regularly surround the monumental figure to be photographed with it. Others rub the nose of the giant "mascot" for good luck.
Broadway - The Charging Bull
Next is the NYSE, the New York Stock Exchange. The roadblocks posted throughout the financial district cannot be ignored. These are powerful hydraulic flaps embedded in the streets. When open, the roadblocks prevent use of the road. The stock exchange is also isolated from the rest of the world with massive bars.
The Federal Hall National Memorial is located near the stock exchange at 26 Wall Street. The structure was the first "Capitol" of the United States. It housed the United States Congress for about a year between 1789-1790.
Federal hall national memorial
In front of the structure is a statue of George Washington being installed in front of Federal Hall. The building is now a museum.
Stage 4 – the 9/11 Memorial
Before we get to the 9/11 Memorial, we pass Zuccotti Park, Trinity Place and Greenwich Street.
The flow of visitors to the memorial is regulated by timed tickets and assigned entrances. Each visitor receives a numbered visitor pass. Police officers armed with assault rifles are stationed in front of the memorial. In the entrance area of the memorial, checks are carried out, as are usual at airports. As a result, long queues build up. Our group of visitors is apparently given priority to pass the other people waiting. Flyers on the background of the memorial are available in German on the memorial site.
9/11 Visitor Center
Police checkpoints at the 9/11 Memorial
This memorial was opened on September 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the attacks. On an area of 32.000 square meters, two large pools of water are reminiscent of the "footprints" of the two 415 meter high Twin Towers that collapsed after the attacks. Water falls nine meters deep into the pools from four sides. From there it goes into an “empty” space in the middle of the tanks. Bronze bands run around the parapets of the pools. The names of the dead were embedded in the ribbons. According to official reports, 2.977 people died in the attacks. More than 400 of the dead were rescue workers.
Two-toned oak trees have been planted on the memorial grounds. There will be talk of more than 400 trees after construction work on the neighboring new One World Trade Center is complete. The "survival tree", a Chinese wild pear, has a special symbolism. This tree previously stood on the site of the original WTC and was found after the attack - badly damaged - amidst the rubble of the building. The tree was cherished and cared for and planted between the oaks at the end of 2010.
The oak trees of the 9/11 Memorial
9/11 Memorial - The Survival Tree
The 9/11 Memorial complex also includes a museum. It is a memorial center and provides insights into the background to the attacks. Many authentic items from that period are on display.
The memorial looks bright and friendly on this bright late summer day. Nevertheless, the ideal weather conditions cannot take away from the horror that evokes memories of the terrible events in this place.
Leg 5 – Drive to Newark Liberty International Airport
The bus ride still allows some views of the hip district of Tribeca and the not so hip SoHo. Then it goes through the Holland Tunnel over to the neighboring state of New Jersey. The Newark Bay Bridge is crossed and a little later the bus stops in front of the terminal buildings of the rustic Newark Liberty International Airport.
Update March 2023