9/11 Museum brings Liberty back Downtown

Tourists by the new open walkway at Liberty St., Friday, May 16. Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers

Tourists by the new open walkway at Liberty St., Friday, May 16. Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers

By JOSH ROGERS  | The opening of the 9/11 Museum this week for previews has freed up much of the World Trade Center to visitors, allowing strollers to visit the memorial, and pedestrians to cross the site at Liberty St.

“We went for a stroll last night,” Kristine Boel, 29, said Friday as she walked again with her newborn, two-week-old daughter, Olivia, her husband, Christian, and their French bulldog. “It gives you another place to walk. We’ve been watching all the work from our window.”

She said she would “definitely” visit the museum soon after it opens to the general public, May 21. She said it was moving to see images of the museum on TV —  “it took my breath away.”

The memorial, which opened almost three years ago on the tenth anniversary of the attack,  required reservations for free tickets up until late in the day yesterday.

Museum officials said Wednesday at a press preview that the opening is an important milestone for the memorial as well.

“It will be a park for people to come sit on a bench and contemplate,” Alice Greenwald, the museum’s director, told Downtown Express May 14.

The next day,  President Obama and other officials attended the opening ceremony for the museum, which has information on the 2,983 killed in the attack’s three locations, and is also full of large artifacts from the W.T.C. like firetrucks damaged in the attack and the remnants of the “Survivors’ Stairs,” which helped hundreds evacuate the W.T.C. on Sept. 11, 2001.

Prior to the public opening Wednesday, the museum is open by reservation to family members of the victims, rescue workers, survivors and Lower Manhattan residents.

The memorial plaza was busy with visitors May 16 as well as people using the new walkway.

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum has made other additions during this opening period including adding an outdoor cafe/food truck and moving the Downtown Alliance information kiosk to the memorial.

An Alliance worker said things were much busier in the temporary location near Greenwich and Liberty Sts. Just then, four  men dressed in business suits walked by and one had a question for a police office officer: “Can we exit that way?”

Yes, they can.

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5 Responses to 9/11 Museum brings Liberty back Downtown

  1. Great to see that the 9/11 Museum has finally opened. Already look forward to visit it with the kids.

  2. Steven Abramson

    As a resident of 114 Liberty Street, a 9/11 survivor, I can tell you that the opening on Liberty St. is an unmitigated disaster, creating a dangerous situation where Liberty Street is crushed by the massive flow of tourists. With no other entry points, tourists and tour groups and streaming down the street where movement of regular daily activity has become impossible. The backup at Liberty and Trinity has gotten worse with street construction and dance acts in Zucotti pushing making the pedestrian flow even worse. This is extremely poor planning on the Memorial's part to the point where the 10/10 firehouse firefighters are upset and the NYPD is now cutting off traffic down Liberty St. In other words, chaos. I would ask the Memorial to go back to the timed entry on Albany St. As a resident, I am part of the WTC Neighborhood Alliance that is trying to preserve this neighborhood for residents, many of whom have lived here for 30 years or more. We have seen that every time there is a change in the area it is never for the benefit of the residents, but for more and more tourist flow. I'm really not sure how I can remain here. Thank you Steven Abramson

  3. Andrew D. M. Parke

    Mr. Abramson, if you'd care to walk about the plaza more thoroughly, you'll notice that there are actually three main access points for public use: on the northwest, southwest, and–as you've mentioned–southeast corners. These access points have been open since the plaza's unrestricted debut to the public, on May 15th; I know this because I was there myself that day to observe the dismantling of the fences. To restore the former serpentine pen at Albany St. would be nothing short of a retrogression, and while I–a FiDi resident like yourself–can certainly appreciate your concerns regarding neighborhood congestion, I am no less supportive of an open plaza at the World Trade Center, of which we'd been robbed for nearly thirteen years.

  4. Talk about putting a target on our backs. No one can keep their guard up forever. Anyone who thinks this spot will not be hit again is fooling themselves, and now, we've just given those who hate us collection point for maximum collatoral damage. Is it our ego or thoughtlessness?

  5. Hope this will keep our memories fresh so we do not overlook threats.

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