About the author: Steven Kanarian is a retired Lieutenant from the New York City Fire Department and wrote the Book: The Downwind Walk: A USAR Paramedic’s Experiences after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001. Available from: http://amzn.to/29FCd4f
The National 9/11 Museum is located at 180 Greenwich Street in New York City. The museum is easily reached by mass transit or car. You can take the west side trains A or C train from Times Square or any west side subway station and arrive at Fulton Street Station. You can also take the Path train from New Jersey to the beautiful new path station at the World Trade Center. You can drive via the west side highway and park in several parking garages. Train access from the east side of Manhattan and Grand Central Station can be accomplished by taking the subway shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square.
When visiting the 9/11 museum you should allow a minimum of 4 hours to see the museum and the Memorial Gardens. Tickets for the date and time you want to tour the museum can be obtained prior to arrival at http://www.911memorial.org/ . I recommend bringing a light sweater and umbrella. The museum can be very cold inside and there is no protection outside from the rain.
If you are concerned about safety at the museum rest assured the grounds are patrolled by private security, New York City Police officers and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officers. Security is often augmented with Homeland Security and military personnel on anniversary dates.
The space in the museum is very comforting and honors the loss on 9/11. I find the Museum to be a place of healing, learning about 9/11 and meeting people from around the world. I find it interesting how al-Qaeda sought to divide the world and the exact opposite is true; you can see proof of the empathy from around the world for the loss at the 9/11 Memorial Museum and Memorial. I think 9/11 has brought the world closer together and intermingled people’s lives that otherwise would not have met. The memorial park and museum are exceedingly well designed. As a 9/11 responder, I was very hesitant to return to the site and see the museum artifacts. I found the design of the area using natural wood and stone elements has a soothing effect. Watch how the design of the ramp brings you down to the lower levels. I found the wood and stone elements to be very soothing and a welcome change from the steel and dust of 9/11.
Sights to see on the grounds of The National 9/11 Museum consists of the 9/11 Memorial, the National 9/11 Museum, and the observation tower at 1 World Trade Center.
The 9/11 Memorial and Waterfall
The Memorial was designed by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker. The design was selected through an international competition that received 5,201 submissions from 63 countries. The memorial is an open space that is filled with trees that were planted during the reconstruction after September 11, 2001. There are two large waterfalls in the footprint of the North and South Towers. I like to say the water flows into the darkness below symbolizing our eternal loss. Around each of the waterfalls are the names of the victims lost on September 11, 2001 and in the 1993 World Trade Center attack.
The Survivor Tree
The tree was nursed back to health in a New York City park and grew to be 30 feet tall, sprouting new branches and flowering in the springtime. It embodies the story of survival and resilience that is so important to the history of 9/11. Today, the tree is supported by temporary guide wires as it takes root.
9/11 Memorial Museum
“The Museum is the global focal point for preserving the history of the events of September 11, documenting the impact of the attacks, and exploring their continuing significance through monumental and personal artifacts, first-person accounts, and multimedia displays. It is located beneath the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center. It includes two core exhibitions: In Memoriam, which pays tribute to those killed in the attacks on 9/11 and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and a three-part historical exhibition, which tells the story of what happened on 9/11, explores what led up to the attacks, and examines the aftermath and how 9/11 continues to shape our world. Tickets are available at 911memorial.org and the box office located at the Museum pavilion.” Cited from http://www.911memorial.org/ on August 8, 2016.
Why 9/11 First Responders should go to the National 9/11 Museum
I put off going to the memorial and museum for a long time. I eventually went to the memorial and found the space to be very soothing. For a long time I wondered how we could possibly move on from the huge loss of life we experienced on 9/11/01. I found that the activity and growth of the trees down there brings new life to Ground Zero. I enjoy the open space and waterfalls while remembering what we did and the people we lost. I eventually found my way to the National 9/11 Museum and was pleased to see how nice the museum was designed, the wood and stone material have a soothing quality. I would suggest going to the museum when the mood strikes you. We all remember what we saw and experienced, however, the contents of the museum are not nearly as bad as what we saw firsthand. For me, it was also nice to learn more about the events and the background of what many now call, “That Day.”
Best Way to get there:
- My first choice would be to park in Times square or another location along the west side and take the subway down to the World Trade Center. You can access a variety of parking lots and garages by taking the West Side Highway south from the George Washington Bridge or the Holland and Lincoln Tunnel.
- You can drive down to the World Trade Center. Parking may be difficult on busy days.
- If you are coming from Staten Island and points south you may want to park in Staten Island and take the New York City Ferry to Manhattan, (free ride, great view of the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and Wards Island.
- Bathrooms are available in local restaurants. A great NY tip is to sit down, order a coffee and a snack, in return you can use the bathroom for “Customers Only.” This is how New Yorkers Square root it! After all, you can always use a cup of coffee or tea and a slice of cheese cake.
- I would eat light before going onto the grounds of the museum and the memorial. There is not much in the way of food on the grounds. Later you can dine and one of many excellent restaurant choices in the area.
- Warning about buying souvenirs from street vendors: Be patient and shop around, often you can buy the same item for less the further you get from a tourist attraction. Always try to negotiate with street vendors.