- Real Estate
- Under Cover
- Special Editorial
- In Pictures
BY COLIN MIXSON
An iconic World Trade Center sculpture that survived 9/11 was brought back to near its original site last week, nearly 16-years after the attacks.
The Port Authority quietly moved Fritz Koenig’s Sphere from its temporary home in The Battery to Liberty Park on Aug. 16, where it will overlook the 9/11 memorial and its former home between the Twin Towers, where it was first installed in 1970.
The 25-ton bronze sculpture was found bent and scorched, but largely intact amid the rubble of the fallen towers, and was dismantled as the city deliberated what, if anything, to do with the battered artwork.
The sculpture found a temporary home in The Battery six months later, where it was installed near Pier A and rededicated as an interim monument to victims of the attack.
Throughout the years, however, neither The Battery Conservancy, nor the National September 11 Memorial & Museum could be persuaded to offer the Koenig Sphere a permanent home, despite the advocacy of victim’s families, who argued the sculpture should be placed back in its original place as a symbol of survival and resilience.
“I was originally advocating for it to go back to pretty much where it was,” said Michael Burke, founder of Save the Sphere, and brother to firefighter William Burke, who was killed in the towers’ collapse.
But memorial planners didn’t like how the sphere evoked memories of the attack, according to Burke, who faults the museum’s board for sanitizing the memorial to the victims by ignoring the horror of the attacks.
“The plans for the memorial were to pretty much wipe out any trace of the attack, so all their final designs didn’t include any direct reminder of what happened there,” Burke said. “It was like removing the dome from the Hiroshima memorial, or any ships from Pearl Harbor.”
The Port Authority asked Burke to endorse a move to Liberty Park on several occasions, and the brother of the slain firefighter eventually agreed to the site as a decent compromise.
“It overlooks the memorial, it’s next to the Greek Church,” said Burke. “It’s a good site.”
The Sphere will remain covered until an official, as-yet-unscheduled unveiling ceremony expected in the first two weeks of September, according to a Port Authority spokeswoman.